Arts

Boston Lyric Opera returns with its first full theater staging since 2019

New England's largest opera company performs "Champion: An Opera in Jazz."

The contemporary opera is by Grammy Award-winning composer Terence Blanchard. Henry Adebonojo

After a limiting two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Lyric Opera has taken to the stage again. Seamlessly fusing opera and jazz styles, the true story of six-time world champion prizefighter Emile Griffith is told in the company’s new production of “Champion: An Opera in Jazz.”

The contemporary opera by Grammy Award-winning composer Terence Blanchard (“Fire Shut Up in My Bones”), with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer, is brought to the stage by acclaimed theater director Timothy Douglas (making his opera debut) and award-winning conductor Kwamé Ryan, and will be presented for three May performances at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater.

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“Champion: An Opera in Jazz” chronicles Griffith’s sweeping life story, from his beginnings in the Virgin Islands to his athletic success in America, through passionate love affairs and a tragedy that changed his life. The story is told as memories from an older Emile with dementia on a journey to redeem himself from the fight that left his opponent Benny “Kid” Paret dead. 

Boston Lyric Opera’s “Champion: An Opera in Jazz” will be performed May 18 at 7:30 p.m., May 20 at 7:30 p.m., and May 22 at 3 p.m.

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