Terence Blanchard's Champion: An Opera In Jazz
"I keep thinking how strange it is... I kill a man and most people understand and forgive me. However, I love a man, and to so many people this is an unforgivable sin." — Emile Griffith
As a nonprofit, SFJAZZ relies on supporters like you to present culturally relevant, groundbreaking programming at the SFJAZZ Center. Champion tells the real-life story of world champion boxer Emile Griffith, a man haunted by memories of his past who struggled to reconcile his sexuality in a hyper-macho world. Produced by SFJAZZ in conjunction with San Francisco’s Opera Paralléle, Champion is an unprecedented production featuring costumes, full staging and video elements with soloists, a jazz trio, orchestra and Gospel chorus.
In Champion, jazz and opera merge through an unlikely and unique collaboration by an acclaimed team of creators. The piece was a first opera for both Terence Blanchard, a five-time GRAMMY Award-winning jazz, film, and theatrical composer, and Michael Cristofer, who is both a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and an award-winning filmmaker and actor.