We are pleased to announce that we are producing Champion: An Opera in Jazz by Terence Blanchard – native son, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, creator of film scores, and five-time Grammy award winner. Champion is the complex story of world champion welterweight boxer Emile Griffith, who asks: “What makes a man a man?” We travel through his broken memories as he retraces his steps to success and failure in love, life, and sport, as a champion and a gay man in the 1960s.
Champion was a co-production of Jazz St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL), and premiered in June 2013. George Manahan, who conducted those performances, and James Robinson, both stage director and artistic director of OTSL, team up for New Orleans Opera’s new production. Arthur Woodley returns to our city to recreate his groundbreaking portrayal of Griffith, leading a stellar cast in this stunningly theatrical work.
Emile Griffith – Arthur Woodley
Young Emile Griffith – Aubrey Allicock
Emelda Griffith – Karen Slack
Benny “The Kid” Paret – Victor Ryan Robertson
Howie Albert – Robert Orth
New Orleans Opera Chorus