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Orcas Center presents on the Center Stage Screen:

Met Opera: Champion

Saturday, May 13th at 12pm
Runtime:
3 hours with intermission
Tiered Ticket Pricing:
$59, $29, $5, or Pay What You Can (Minimum $5)
Orcas Center charges a $2 per ticket fee

COVID Policy Update: Masking is encouraged in the theatre, but no longer required

**Orcas Center’s Tiered Ticket Pricing is based on the needs of your family. The variant in pricing is not based on seat location or dates of performances, rather, what you’re able to afford to help us to maintain our facilities and create quality programming.

Tier A is the true cost per patron of putting on show at the Orcas Center, Tier B is our standard rate, also subsidized by our generous donors, Tier C is a rate subsidized by our generous donors. **


Champion

CLICK HERE for more information about Champion from The Met

When Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones opened the Met’s 2021–22 season to universal acclaim, it marked a historic moment in the annals of the company. Now, the six-time Grammy Award–winning composer’s first opera arrives at the Met. Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green is the young boxer Emile Griffith, who rises from obscurity to become a world champion, and bass-baritone Eric Owens portrays Griffith’s older self, haunted by the ghosts of his past. Soprano Latonia Moore is Emelda Griffith, the boxer’s estranged mother, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is the bar owner Kathy Hagen. Yannick Nézet-Séguin is again on the podium for Blanchard’s second Met premiere, and director James Robinson—whose productions of Fire and Porgy and Bess brought down the house—oversees the staging. Camille A. Brown, whose choreography electrified audiences in Fire and Porgy, also returns.

 

Act I

In his apartment in Hempstead, Long Island, Emile Griffith is struggling to get dressed. Suffering from dementia, he is confused and haunted by his past. Luis, his adopted son and caretaker, reminds him to be ready for an important meeting with Benny Paret, Jr.

In the late 1950s, Emile is a young man again in St. Thomas. He yearns to find his mother, Emelda, and make it big in America as a singer, a baseball player, and a designer of hats. Emile moves to New York. When he finds his mother, she is confused, not sure which of her seven abandoned children he is, but overjoyed. Hoping to find Emile a job, she takes him to meet Howie Albert, a hat manufacturer. Howie sees an opportunity: Emile is built like a boxer not a hat maker, and he sets his sights on training Emile as a fighter. Giving up his other dreams, Emile quickly develops into a talented welterweight. Lonely and confused by his success, Emile finds his way to a gay bar in Manhattan. Kathy Hagen, the owner, welcomes Emile to a world that frightens and attracts him. Emile confides in Kathy, revealing some demons from his past. As a boy, his cruel fundamentalist cousin Blanche forced him to hold cinderblocks above his head as punishment for having the devil inside him, a punishment that made him into a man of great physical strength.

In 1962, Emile encounters Benny “Kid” Paret at a weigh-in for their upcoming fight. Kid Paret taunts the charismatic Emile, calling him “maricon,” a disparaging Spanish word for a homosexual. Alone with Howie, Emile tries to talk to him frankly about why this word hurt him so deeply, but for Howie this is something that no one in the fight business wants to talk about. Howie leaves him and Emile wonders what it means to be a man. Emile and Paret prepare for the big fight. Paret continues to taunt Emile, who ultimately delivers seventeen blows in less than seven seconds and knocks Paret into a coma.

Act II

Back in Emile’s bedroom in the present, Emile is haunted by the ghost of Kid Paret, who still questions his old opponent.

In the late 1960s, Emile is enjoying a strong winning streak all over the world. Titles, trophies, and money roll in, but he remains disturbed by the death of Kid Paret. He tries living it up, and, denying his own identity, he takes a young bride, Sadie, although everyone including his mother Emelda, who remembers her own childhood back in the Islands, warns him against it.

By the early 1970s, after the wedding, Emile’s luck seems to have changed. He’s now on a long losing streak and starting to display signs of “boxer’s brain,” or trauma-related dementia. Howie realizes that Emile’s days are numbered and tries to console him, but Emile rejects Howie, as well as his wife and his mother. Instead, he looks for comfort back at Kathy’s bar. Outside in the street, he is taunted by a group of thugs. They beat him violently, exacerbating his brain injuries.

Back in the present, Emile relives the nightmare of the attack. Luis tries to comfort him. “That was long ago,” says Luis. In a New York City park, Emile asks for forgiveness from Benny Jr. Luis tells Benny that since that terrible evening Emile has struggled to find peace with what he’s done and who he truly is. Back at home, the voices and memories subside. Emile Griffith, the former welterweight champ, can now take life one day at a time.