Theater News

Metropolitan Opera Cancels Entire 2020-21 Season

The Lincoln Center mainstay will open its 2021-22 with Terence Blanchard’s ”Fire Up In My Bones”.

The Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House
(© David Gordon)

The Metropolitan Opera has canceled the entirety of its 2020-21 season based on the advice of health officials who advice the organization and Lincoln Center.

Because of the hundreds of performers who are required to rehearse and perform in close quarters, and because of the company's large audience, it was determined that it would not be safe for the Met to resume until a vaccine is widely in use, herd immunity is established, and the wearing of masks and social distancing is no longer a medical requirement. Health officials have said this will likely take at least five to six months after a vaccine is initially made available.

When performances do return, the Met will make plans to be responsive to more cautious audiences. There will be a larger number of 7pm curtains, and they will reduce running times for several operas, either through textual cuts or removed intermissions.

As part of the Met's efforts to make opera more equitable, the company has named three Black composers—Valerie Coleman, Jessie Montgomery, and Joel Thompson—to the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater New Works commissioning program, while also announcing the commission of the noted African American visual artist Rashid Johnson to create large-scale artworks that will be on display inside the opera house during the 2021–22 season.

The Met will open its 2021-22 season with the premiere of Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the memoir by Charles M. Blow, with a score by Terence Blanchard and libretto by Kasi Lemmons. This is the first time in history that the Met will present a work by a Black composer, and also the first time in history that a Black director, Camille A. Brown, will create a main stage production. Brown co-directs with James Robinson and also choreographs.