Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aubrey Allicock to star as boxer Emile Griffith

Aubrey Allicock and Emile Griffith
The Opera Theatre of St. Louis has announced that barihunk Aubrey Allicock will star as bisexual boxer Emile Griffith in the world premiere of Champion on June 15, 2013. The opera was written by jazz great Tereence Blanchard with a libretto by playwright Michael Cristofer and will also star mezzo Denyce Graves.

Aubrey Allicock has become an instant fan favorite at the Opera Theatre where he played Mamoud in The Death of Klinghoffer in 2011 and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland in 2012. Local opera fans got to know him during his two year stint with the Gerdine Young Artist program where he performed the roles of Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin and the Customs Official in La bohème.

Terence Blanchard: Taxi Driver:

Emile Griffith was a three-time World Welterweight Champion and twice a World Middleweight Champion, fighting from the late 1950s into the 1970s. However, one of his greatest professional triumphs – winning back the Welterweight Championship from Benny “The Kid” Paret in 1962 – was also one of his greatest personal tragedies. The seventeen punches he landed on Paret in seven seconds resulted in not only a knockout, but also a coma from which Paret would never recover. Paret would die ten days later.

The end of the Griffith-Paret fight + Norman Mailer's commentary:

Before that life-changing televised fight, in a room full of press and officials, Paret mocked Griffith repeatedly with a derogatory term for homosexual. Years later, Griffith’s sexuality as a gay man was revealed to the public after he was nearly killed by a gang outside a gay bar in New York. “I kill a man,” Griffith was quoted to have said, “and most people understand and forgive me. I love a man, and to so many people this is an unforgiveable sin.” In an inspiring, moving, and painful journey of self-discovery, Champion presents audiences with a great contemporary tragic hero – a man of strength and courage consumed ultimately by rage, regret, and the terrible consequences of his actions.

Today, Griffith requires full time care and suffers from pugilistic dementia.

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