Terence Blanchard: Champion
The Met's new production
Just over a year and a half after the Met staged the première of his Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the first opera by an African-American composer to run there in the institution's history, another work by Terence Blanchard will already be making it to New York. Next up at the American opera house will be the six-time Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter and composer's first opera, dating from 2013, in a production conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is committed to mounting contemporary works, directed by James Robinson, and starring both Ryan Speedo Green and Eric Owens as the legendary boxer Emile Griffith.
Griffith, who died in 2013 at the age of 75, was one of the most successful professional boxers of all time, winning the world championship title in both the welterweight and middleweight categories. The dramatic life story of an athlete who literally fought his way out from a childhood of hopeless poverty was literally made for the stage. This is true whether we think of the lethal KO punch that turned out to end the life of one of his rivals, the storms surrounding his private life and the bisexuality that he acknowledged in his old age, or his final, hopeless struggle against dementia. His story is told in Blanchard's opera, in which the aforementioned two great African-American singers will play the roles of Griffith, one as the young man who is fighting for the title belt, and the other as his older self attempting to look back on his life. Like Owens and Green, Latonia Moore, who portrays Griffith's estranged mother, was featured in the 2019 global broadcast of Porgy and Bess, a magnificent production that marks the last time James Robinson and choreographer Camille A. Brown worked together before joining forces again for this one.
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Presented by: Müpa Budapest
Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Emelda Griffith: Latonia Moore
Kathy Hagan: Stephanie Blythe
The Young Emile Griffith: Ryan Speedo Green
Emile Griffith: Eric Owens
Featuring: The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Libretto: Michael Cristofer
Set design: Allen Moyer
Costumes: Paul Tazewell
Lighting: Donald Holder
Projection: Greg Emetaz
Choreographer: Camille A. Brown
Director: James Robinson