Met Opera to present Blanchard's 'Champion' in April 2023

The Metropolitan Opera will present its premiere of Terence Blanchard’s first opera, “Champion,” about closeted gay boxer Emile Griffith, in April 2023 following the success of the composer’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” on the opening night of this season.

“Champion” premiered at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis on June 15, 2013. Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer intend to make revisions for the Met performances, which will be in a revamped version of the original James Robinson production.

Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, emphasizing 21st century music in his repertoire, will conduct a cast starring bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green as the young Griffith, bass-baritone Eric Owens as the retired boxer and soprano Latonia Moore as the boxer’s mother. The mother's role is being revised after being sung by mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves during the original run.

Nézet-Séguin conducted “Fire,” the Met’s first work by a Black composer, to open the season and the company premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” last month. He is set the lead the world premiere performance of Kevin Puts’ “The Hours” in a concert version with the Philadelphia Orchestra on March 18, then conduct its first staged performances at the Met next season.

The Met will present its second work by a Black composer, Anthony Davis’ 1986 work “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” starting Nov. 3, 2023.