This weekend, CityBeat recommends the Opera Fusion: New Works Lab performance of Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer‘s Champion.
CCM will host a public performance of this new American opera at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Cincinnati Opera will host a performance 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 28 at Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. Champion contains mature subject matter and adult language.
You can read Anne Arenstein’s entire preview here.
Champion, an opera with a unique fusion of jazz and operatic styles, is based on the true story of boxer Emile Griffith. A world champion prizefighter, Griffith experienced both triumph and tragedy; in winning the Welterweight Championship in 1962, his punches put opponent Benny “The Kid” Paret in a coma from which he never recovered. Just before the match, Paret had mocked Griffith using homosexual slurs. Years later, Griffith’s homosexuality was revealed when he was nearly killed by a gang outside a gay bar. Champion presents a modern tragic hero who is ultimately consumed by rage, regret, and the terrible consequences of his actions. The world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June 2013 will star Denyce Graves, Aubrey Allicock, Arthur Woodley, and Robert Orth.
Renowned for his work as a composer of jazz pieces for small ensembles, symphonic settings, film, and stage, Terence Blanchard has received five Grammy Awards, including the 2007 Large Ensemble Grammy for A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina). Most recently, he wrote the scores for the film Red Tails and the new Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Champion is Blanchard’s first opera.
Playwright, filmmaker, and actor Michael Cristofer received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play for The Shadow Box in 1977. His work on such films as The Witches of Eastwick, Falling in Love, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and HBO’s Gia has earned him a Golden Globe, a Writer’s Guild Award, two Emmy nominations, and a best director award from the Director’s Guild of America. He currently appears on the NBC drama Smash. Champion is Cristofer’s first opera libretto.
Music by Terence Blanchard
Libretto by Michael Cristofer
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
When: Saturday, October 27 at 8 p.m.
Where: Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Tickets available beginning Monday, October 22 at noon. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call (513) 556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.
School for Creative and Performing Arts
A reception with the composer and librettist will follow the performance.
When: Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m.
Where: Mayerson Theater, 108 W. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Admission: Free, but tickets are required. Tickets available beginning Monday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m. Please contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at 513-241-2742 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.
Opera Fusion: New Works is sponsored by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.