The Metropolitan Opera to Present Premiere of ‘Champion’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Zenith Richards / Met Opera)

Terence Blanchard’s “Champion,” based on the true story of the troubled former middleweight boxing champion Emile Griffith, will make its highly anticipated Metropolitan Opera premiere.

The opera, which opens on April 10,  will be performed nine times through May 13. The work, with a libretto by Michael Cristofer, will be conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and will be headlined by bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, who portrays Emile.

The production also features bass-baritone Eric Owens as Griffith’s tormented and punch-drunk older self, soprano Latonia Moore as Emelda Griffith, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the gay bar owner Kathy Hagen, tenor Paul Groves as Howie Albert, and baritone Eric Greene as Benny “Kid” Paret. Contralto Meredith Arwady will sing the role of Kathy Hagen on May 8, and Kensho Watanabe will conduct the May 13 performance.

Champion” will be directed by James Robinson, whose productions of “Fire Shut up in my Bones” and “Porgy and Bess” at the Met scored major successes. Camille A. Brown is the choreographer.

The April 29 performance of “Champion” will be transmitted to cinemas worldwide as part of the company’s The Met: Live in HD series. The April 10 and 18 performances will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM channel 355.