Boxing Meets Opera in Approaching Ali

If you believe that the brutality of boxing couldn’t possibly be translated into the drama of an opera, you probably never saw Muhammad Ali fight. From outlandish interviews to trash-talking his opponents, Ali did everything with a diva-like flair still unmatched by any athlete. Ever.

Thursday night (Jan. 29), the North Carolina Opera brings Approaching Ali to the stage of the Carolina Theatre of Durham. The one-act opera revolves around two real-life meetings that author (and Winston-Salem native) Davis Miller had with Ali — 14 years apart..

Chris Vitiello of the Indy has an exceptionally well-done story on Miller, Ali and the opera in this week's issue.

Miller chronicled both meetings with the champ in his memoir, The Tao of Muhammad Ali. Richmond-based guitarist D.J. Sparr composed the opera, which focuses on the influence Ali had on the writer at two very different stages of life for both men.

We’ve been able to hear the booming bass of Soloman Howard, who will star as Ali, and a 10-piece orchestra, conducted by Samuel McCoy, in rehearsals over the past few days. It’s a very skilled and unique pairing that any theatre buff or opera fan will want to see — and hear. Showtime is at 7 p.m.



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