By Culturekiosque Staff
NEW YORK, 4 JUNE 2013 In addition to the ten new compositions
written for his new album Magnetic (released last week on Blue
Note), trumpeter/composer and New Orleans native Terence Blanchard (b.
1962) will take another big step on his continuing creative odyssey with
the world premiere of his new opera.
Entitled Champion, an opera in jazz written with Pulitzer
Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer, is Blanchards first opera.
Co-commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis, the
opera is inspired by the true story of prize fighter Emile Griffith an
immigrant from the Virgin Islands who claimed the title of World
Welterweight Champion in a fatal 1962 fight which transformed him into a
tragic hero and left the two-year old son of his opponent Benny "The Kid"
Paret, without a father.
Arthur Woodley as Emile Griffith in
Champion begins over 40 years later, on the morning
Emile is to meet his opponents son, now a grown man, for the first time.
Flooded by memories of his career, his checkered personal life, and a
terrible attack that exposed his greatest personal secret, Emile embarks
on the universal journey of any hero finding himself in the face of his
Under the musical direction of George Manahan,
Champion boasts a cast that includes Arthur Woodley (Emile
Griffith), Aubrey Allicock (Young Emile Griffith), Denyce Graves (Emelda
Griffith), Robert Orth (Howie), Meredith Arwady (Kathy Hagen), Brian
Arreola (Luis Rodrigo Griffith) and Chabrelle Williams (Sadie
Griffith/Cousin Blanche) among others.
The creative and production team includes:
Stage Director, James Robinson
Costume Designer: James
Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind
Wig & Makeup
Designer: Tom Watson
Choreographer: Seán Curran
English Diction Specialist: Erie Mills
Terence Blanchard: Champion (World
Libretto by Michael Cristofer
15 - 30 June 2013 at
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
St. Louis, MO 63119
Tel: (1) 314 961 06 4