Reviews: What Did Critics Think of Champion at the Met Opera?; Get a 1st Look at the New Opera | Playbill

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The Verdict Reviews: What Did Critics Think of Champion at the Met Opera?; Get a 1st Look at the New Opera

The opera by Grammy-winning composer Terence Blanchard opened April 10.

Ryan Speedo Green in Terence Blanchard's Champion Zenith Richards / Met Opera

The Metropolitan Opera premiere of Terence Blanchard's Champion opened Monday April 10—and the reviews are in! 

Characterized by the composer as an "opera in jazz," Blanchard's first opera is based on the life of welterweight boxing champion Emile Griffith. This is the second opera by Blanchard to be performed at the Met, after the 2021-22 season opened with the Met premiere of Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

In Champion, Bass-Baritones Eric Owens and Ryan Speedo Green play the role of Emile Griffith, with Owens playing the retired boxer in the early 2000s, and Green playing his younger self. Soprano Latonia Moore plays Griffith's mother Emelda Griffith. The cast also includes Stephanie Blythe as Kathy Hagen, Paul Groves as Howie Albert, and Eric Greene as Benny “Kid” Paret. Tony nominee Lee Wilkof makes his Met debut as the Ring Announcer. Performances run through May 13.

Read the reviews here.

Financial Times (George Grella)

New York Classical Review (David Wright)

New York Times (Zachary Woolfe)*

OperaWire (David Salazar)

TheaterMania (Zachary Stewart)

Vulture (Justin Davidson)

*This review requires creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Champion is directed by James Robinson and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, reuniting after their Met productions of Porgy and Bess and Fire Shut Up In My Bones, the latter of which Brown also co-directed. The creative team also includes set designer Allen Moyer, costume designer Montana Levi Blanco, lighting designer Donald Holder, and projection designer Greg Emetaz.

The Met's 2022-23 season continues with revivals including Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, Puccini's La Bohème, and Verdi's Aida. New productions of Mozart's Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte, directed respectively by Ivo van Hove and Simon McBurney, round out the end of the season. The recently announced 2023-24 season will feature six new productions, including four Met premieres, as well as revivals of Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones and Kevin Puts' The Hours. This increased focus on newer works is part of the Met's strategy to attract and engage new audiences.

Look at Production Photos of The Metropolitan Opera's Champion

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