The Wall Street Journal: These opera singers throw a mean left hook

by | Apr 9, 2023 | Stock Market

NEW YORK — In the ever-dramatic world of opera, conflicts of all sorts play out behind the scenes. Singers make royal demands of management. Musicians push for better pay. Deep in the bowels of New York City’s Metropolitan Opera on a recent Saturday afternoon, a fight of a more literal sort broke out: a boxing match with punches aplenty, a few blistering taunts and even an eventual knockout.

The Met, as the organization is simply called, has been in rehearsal for the company premiere on Monday of “Champion,” an opera by the Grammy-winning jazz artist Terence Blanchard that tells the story of Emile Griffith, a boxer who rose to fame more than a half-century ago. The Met, known for its often lavish productions of classic works such as Verdi’s “Aida,” Wagner’s “Lohengrin” and Puccini’s “Turandot,” is having to get gritty and stage an actual ringside spectacle, replete with all the usual boxing accouterments, from spit buckets to a booming MC giving the familiar “Ladies and Gentlemen” introduction. Ryan Speedo Green, the bass-baritone who portrays the young Griffith, said a modern-day work like “Champion” speaks to his dream of debunking stereotypes when it comes to opera singers. “It’s not just some Viking l …

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