A photo shoot on the streets of New York City with baritone Will Liverman, who will sing Malcolm X.

Conductor Kazem Abdullah is excited about the dramatic retelling of the civil rights leader’s life at one of the most renowned opera houses in the world.

“I think the way the opera has been composed really does tremendous justice to Malcolm X, how his voice was, how his aura was, how his effect on the world and on black America was,” he said.

What You Need To Know

  • An exceptional cast of breakout artists and young Met stars enliven the operatic retelling of the civil rights leader’s life

  • Conductor Kazem Abdullah says he's honored to be part of the production because Malcolm X is one of his personal heroes

  • X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is expected to tap into the same magic as the MET's premiere of "Fire Shut Up in My Bones"

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925, the activist joined the Nation of Islam while in prison during the late 1940s and later became its national spokesman.

Beloved by some, reviled by others, Malcolm spoke with a conviction that made global headlines. And the Metropolitan Opera hopes to translate his legacy through this groundbreaking production called “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.”

“X” hopes to build on the wild success of The Met’s “Fire Shut Up in my Bones” two years ago, led by jazz great Terence Blanchard, Abdullah worked with that production as well and hopes to bring that same magic to this famous stage.

“It shows snapshots of Malcolm’s life and also starts a little bit before Malcolm X came into being and some of the influences that led to him having the consciousness that he had so the opera opens with a group of people that were known as the Garveyites.” he said. “It takes you through Black history and Black music history too.”

“So while it’s an operatic idiom, the wonderful composter Anthony Davis has incorporated jazz music from across the 20th century — as you go from each decade of Malcolm’s life you hear different styles of jazz,” he said. “There haven’t been actually many black conductors in the history of the met to have their own production.”

“Its really for me a great honor and a pleasure to be back at America’s greatest opera house doing an opera about one of America’s greatest leaders,”he adds.

Malcolm X was assassinated in Manhattan in 1965 at age 39, but his daughters work hard to keep his legacy alive. And when the curtain rises on “X.”

At America’s greatest opera house next month, Kazem Abdullah believes it will speak and sing truth to power.