Boxing has a long history of lives ruined by predatory businessmen and the inherent violence of the sport, but even with that caveat, the story of boxer Emile Griffith stands out. Griffith defeated Benny "The Kid" Paret for the World Welterweight Championship in 1962, but at a heavy cost to both men. Paret was killed in the ring, and Griffith was haunted by what he had done -- and by what Paret had said to him before the fight. Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer use Griffith's life as the basis for their new opera in the jazz idiom, Champion. Here Griffith is an old man, about to meet Paret's adult son for the first time when the memories of that night -- and everything after -- come flooding back. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis presents the world premiere of Champion at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Loretto-Hilton Center on Webster University's campus (130 Edgar Road; 314-961-0644 or www.opera-stl.org). The show is performed five more times in repertory through Sunday, June 30. Tickets are $25 to $128.
Sat., June 15; Wed., June 19; Fri., June 21; Tue., June 25; Thu., June 27; Sun., June 30, 2013