Metropolitan Opera to Present ‘X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X’ in 2023-24

By David Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera has announced plans to perform Anthony Davis and Thulani Davis’ “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” during the 2023-24 season.

The opera will feature the directing debut of Robert O’Hara, making him the second Black director in Met history. Audiences will see Will Liverman in the title role alongside Leah Hawkins as Louise and Malcolm’s wife Betty Shabazz. Kazem Abdullah will conduct.

O’Hara’s production is a co-production with Seattle Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Opera Omaha. The production is set to premiere first in Detroit in May 2022 with subsequent showcases in Opera Omaha.

“I look forward with great excitement to the production of ‘X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X’ at the Metropolitan Opera,” said Anthony Davis in a press statement. “It has been 35 years since the premiere of ‘X,’ and I am eager to work with the extraordinary director Robert O’Hara on this new production that will feature a new generation of artists. Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik el Shabazz) is an even more relevant figure today. His vision is as prescient today as it was in 1986. He is an inspiration for Black Lives Matter and the movement for social justice. As a composer, I am thrilled to help create X as an opera for today that speaks to the future as well as the past.”

Finally, the production will be part of the Met’s Live in HD series during the 2023-24 season.