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Terence Blanchard's 'Champion' & Q-Tip Included in Kennedy Center's Next Season Program

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Mar 11, 2016 10:24 AM EST

Terence Blanchard's jazz-induced Champion, a resounding opera from an even more resounding creator, will be included in the Kennedy Center's programming for next season, according to the center's plans, which were announced Tuesday. The season begins Sept. 22.

Blanchard's production transports the audience to the Civil Rights era, and is a unique insight into the racial climate of the day. Champion  is the story of welterweight world champion boxer Emile Griffith and his fight against bigotry for being a gay African-American man in the U.S.

Also on the bill is James Gaffigan, chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, who will make his company debut in a production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

According to the New York Times, the Kennedy Center will also feature the bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee in Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment and Ermonela Jaho and Hei-Kyung Hong alternating in the title role of Puccini's Madame Butterfly.

In addition, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will join the company's artistic director, Francesca Zambello, for an evening exploring justice within the opera community. It's not often that a Supreme Court justice makes an appearance at this sort of gathering, so her featurette should make for an interesting discussion on the merits of maintaining a safe and sound musical environment.

Also announced for the season is the Mariinsky Ballet dancing Alexei Ratmansky's The Little Humpbacked Horse;, San Francisco Ballet performing Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella; ,visits by New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; and two evenings programmed by Justin Peck and Misty Copeland.

A Tribe Called Quest founder Q-Tip will be named artistic director for hip-hop culture, a new effort by the center. Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma, artistic advisers at large, will be involved in various programming for the centennial.

Be sure to stay on the alert for what's to come for the Kennedy Center's forthcoming season. For now, take a preview of Champion below.

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TagsKennedy Center, Terence Blanchard, Champion, Q-Tip