Terence Blanchard’s Opera “Champion” Debuting in STL

blanchard_terenceOpera is good. I’ve loved it since I was a child and my godmother/aunt took me to see Grace Bumbry at I believe Cleveland’s music hall. What is the irony of Grace Bumbry being from St. Louis and being one of the first opera stars I’d see perform as a kid? During my last stay in St. Louis I didn’t even attend one opera. I was into revelry in those days: dance, music and clubbing. Oh well. I will not be clubbing this go ’round but I will be attending the opera to see musician/composer Terence Blanchard‘s “Champion” debuting at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, June 15-30.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says of Mr. Blanchard’s first opera,

“Champion” tells the true story of world welterweight champion Emile Griffith, who killed his opponent, Benny Paret, in a televised match in 1962. Thirty years later, the boxer was beaten and almost killed himself as he left a gay bar in New York City. Griffith, who asked and received forgiveness from Paret’s son, now suffers from dementia. His is a complex and relevant story. The opera, a co-commission by OTSL and Jazz St. Louis, has its world premiere here June 15.

Culturally, I’ve never doubted St. Louis’ support of the fine arts, including fine arts featuring black creatives. This is exciting to me, because my first introduction to Terence Blanchard was from his work with Spike Lee, which seems like centuries ago given his filmography is as long as my arm. I and others have matured with Blanchard and his body of work.

I really want to be a witness to this world premiere.

If you look over in the right margin, there is a widget (click on the photo) that takes you directly to ticket sales.

Will I see you there? Hope so.


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