Opera Theatre Hosts Weeklong Series February 18-24, Featuring Grammy Award Winner Terence Blanchard and a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Creation of the World Premiere of Champion
Acclaimed composer and musician will lead workshops, master classes, a panel, and a film screening
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis will introduce Terence Blanchard’s highly-anticipated new opera Champion with a week of events, February 18 – 24, in the lead-up to single tickets to Opera Theatre’s 2013 season going on sale. 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.
As a performer, Terence Blanchard has wowed audiences worldwide, including sold-out appearances with Jazz St. Louis. As a composer, he is deeply committed to developing the careers of future musicians and inspiring new audiences to engage with the power of great music. Mr. Blanchard will be central to a dynamic series of free programs, many of which are open to the general public.
New Voices for Opera, an Opera Theatre audience development program made possible by OPERA America’s Opera Fund and PNC Arts Alive.
Highlighted programs include:
Music Fusion: Jazz and Opera in the 21st Century
Monday, February 18, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Webster University, Emerson Library
Join Terence Blanchard for a conversation about trends in 21st century American music, giving specific focus to the fusion between the musical styles of opera and jazz that inform the score of Champion. Click here for more information.
"Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" Screening with Q&A
Thursday, February 21, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Missouri History Museum
The documentary Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story traces the story of the life of Emile Griffith, the subject of the opera Champion. Click here for more information.
Meet the Composer: A Young Professionals Happy Hour
Friday, February 22, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Mary’s Attic Rooftop Longue
The Young Friends of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and of Jazz St. Louis co-host a happy hour event, featuring drinks and appetizers and a sneak peek of music from Champion. Click here for more information.
Out for the Count: A Legacy in Athletes
Saturday, February 23, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Washington University, Whitaker Hall
This panel explores the legacy of LGBT athletes in American culture, starting with Emile Griffith in the 1960s and moving forward to the challenges and opportunities that face amateur and professional athletics to become increasingly inclusive today. Click here for more information.