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Champion (World premiere)

Arthur Woodley as Emile Griffith in Champion
Arthur Woodley as Emile Griffith in Champion
Champion (World premiere): By Terence Blanchard & Michael Cristofer, 2013
SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI  •  Opera Theatre of Saint Louis  •  Ongoing

Terence Blanchard: Champion (World premiere)
Libretto by Michael Cristofer

George Manahan, conductor
James Robinson, stage director

Champion, an opera in jazz written with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer, is Blanchard’s 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.

Champion begins over 40 years later, on the morning Emile is to meet his opponent’s 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 greatest tragedy.

Emile Griffith: Arthur Woodley
Young Emile Griffith: Aubrey Allicock
Emelda Griffith: Denyce Graves
Howie: Robert Orth
Kathy Hagen: Meredith Arwady
Benny Paret/Paret Jr.: Victor Ryan Robertson
Luis Rodrigo Griffith: Brian Arreola°
Sadie Griffith/Cousin Blanche: Chabrelle Williams
Announcer: Christopher Hutchinson*†
Little Emile ,TBD
Young Man in a Bar: Lorenzo Miguel Garcia

Costume Designer: James Schuette
Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind
Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson
Choreographer: Seán Curran
Chorus Master: Robert Ainsley
English Diction Specialist: Erie Mills
Repetiteur: Adam Burnette

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Website

Detailed schedule information:
8:00 pm

Contact: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
210 Hazel Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63119
Tel: (1) 314 961 06 44

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