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Champion, by Terence Blanchard

Metropolitan Opera / New York / Music

Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Terence Blanchard’s second opera, came up trumps at the Met last season. Playing catchup, the company now presents Champion, his first. (Both had their premieres at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.) Champion tells the true-to-life story of the bisexual boxer Emile Griffith, remembered primarily for his bout with a homophobic opponent who dissed him at weigh-in, was knocked out, and died in the hospital soon after without ever regaining consciousness. It’s hard not to notice that Blanchard’s heroes in both operas are conflicted bisexual Black men who are portrayed by different artists at different times of life. What, if anything, to make of this fact is anybody’s guess. —M.G.

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