St. Louis became the center of the opera universe this month, when jazz composer Terence Blanchard’s Champion marked its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The reviews are nothing short of exuberant: The Denver Post calls it “a new kind of American masterpiece” and the Chicago Tribune hails its “flawless cast and production.” I couldn’t agree more. I was fortunate enough to be in the audience when Mr. Blanchard himself took to the stage for what seemed to be the longest standing ovation I’ve ever experienced.
Sharing the spotlight that night, alongside opera greats Denyce Graves and Arthur Woodley, was young Jordan Jones of University City. The budding star, who will start sixth grade in the fall, tells me that he wants to be a singer and an actor. “And since opera is both of those things, I want to do opera.” When I asked him what he considered the hardest part about playing Little Emile, he said it was performing in front of “like, a thousand people.” Start getting used to it, Jordan...we’ll be watching for you!