New York, NY (April 20, 2023)—The Metropolitan Opera presents a live transmission of Terence Blanchard’s jazz-inflected opera Champion on Saturday, April 29, at 12:55PM ET as part of The Met: Live in HD series. Champion was the first opera by the seven-time Grammy Award–winning composer and depicts the double-life of closeted boxer Emile Griffith, from his arrival in New York City from the U.S. Virgin Islands to his rise from hatmaker to world-champion prizefighter to the tragic moment that he killed his opponent in the ring—an act that haunted him for the rest of his life.
Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green portrays the Young Emile Griffith, and bass-baritone Eric Owens plays Griffith’s tormented older self. The cast also features soprano Latonia Moore as Emelda Griffith, the boxer’s estranged mother; mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the gay-bar owner Kathy Hagen; tenor Paul Groves as Howie Albert, the factory owner who discovered Emile’s boxing talent; and baritone Eric Greene as both Benny “Kid” Paret, the fighter who taunted Griffith with homophobic slurs, ultimately leading him to unleash a barrage of blows in a 1962 title fight, and Benny Paret, Jr. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Met’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director, conducts.
Director James Robinson—whose productions of Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess at the Met scored major successes—directs Champion, as he did when the work had its world premiere in St. Louis a decade ago. Camille A. Brown, who electrified audiences with her choreography in Porgy and Fire, also returns.
Gary Halvorson will direct the Live in HD presentation for cinemas, with host tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who will share exclusive behind-the-scenes access during the intermission. Brownlee will star as Tamino in director Simon McBurney’s upcoming new production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, which will be transmitted live to cinemas on June 3.
For select audiences who do not live near a participating cinema, Champion will also be available on The Met: Live at Home platform, which offers a livestream and on-demand viewing for seven days following the performance.
Content Advisory: Champion contains adult themes, sexually explicit language, and physical violence.
For more information about Champion, please click here.