The Met Live in HD: Blanchard’s Champion

Saturday, May 6, 10:55am

When Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones opened the Met’s 2021–22 season to universal acclaim, it marked a historic moment in the annals of the company. Now, the six-time Grammy Award–winning composer’s operatic retelling of the dramatic story of boxer Emile Griffith arrives in New York. Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green stars as the closeted young hatmaker-turned-prizefighter, who rises from obscurity to become world champion and, in one of the great tragedies in sports history, kills his homophobic archrival in the ring. Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads a stellar cast that also features bass-baritone Eric Owens as Griffith’s older self, haunted by the ghosts of his past. Soprano Latonia Moore is Emelda Griffith, the boxer’s estranged mother, alongside mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as bar owner Kathy Hagen. Director James Robinson—whose productions of Fire and Porgy and Bess brought down the house—oversees the staging, and Camille A. Brown, whose choreography electrified audiences in Fire and Porgy, also returns.

World premiere: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, 2013

Champion was the first opera composed by Terence Blanchard—following numerous high-profile film scores and many years as a leading jazz artist—and depicts the conflicts and crises in the life of boxer Emile Griffith. When Blanchard was initially approached to write an opera, this subject emerged as the story that he felt most inspired to set to music. He saw the truly operatic dimensions in the confluence of love, violence, death, and forgiveness, and in bringing them to the stage, he wove together both contemporary and classical musical idioms to create a wholly new sound world, one that he characterizes as “opera in jazz.”

This production uses strobe-light effects.

Content Advisory: Champion contains adult themes, sexually explicit language, and physical violence.

Approximate run time 2:50 with 1 intermission

Adult $25  ♦   Student $15

Sponsored locally by Victor & Janet Ashear, Christine Gempp Love Foundation, Roger & Janet Haight, Seymour Thickman Family Foundation, Susan Scott Heyneman Foundation, Wayland & Marion Cato, and Wyoming Public Media