When it premiered at the New York City Opera in 1986, X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X was hailed as groundbreaking work for its all-Black production team, its realistic retelling of recent history, and its depiction of a controversial figure in the civil rights movement and the fight for Black empowerment in 1950s.

Born in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, African-American leader Malcolm X was a prominent figure in the Nation of Islam who articulated concepts of race pride and Black nationalism in the early 1960s. His advocacy of achieving equality by all means necessary had put him on the opposing side with American activist-philosopher Martin Luther King who advocated a nonviolent approach to social reform and civil rights.

Malcolm’s Black nationalism ideology greatly influenced the Black Power movement, helping popularize the values of autonomy and independence among African Americans in the 1960s and ’70s. After his assassination in 1965, he became an ideological hero among the Black youth.

The evocative biopic of the civil rights icon gave rich materials for acclaimed improvisational jazz pianist, composer, and educator Anthony Davis to produce the revolutionary opera, together with his brother Christopher Davis who translated Malcolm X’s life into a theatrical story and his cousin Thulani Davis who created the libretto. Anthony Davis is best known for his operas, including Amistad, Wakonda’s Dream, and The Central Park Five, the last earning him the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

In Davis’ first-ever opera, the production team dramatized the life of the civil rights icon. Rather than beatifying and explaining Malcolm X’s ideals, the opera showed his personal transformation from victim of poverty to leader-agitator to martyr.

For the CCP The Met: LIVE in HD special screening of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X on June 4, Tony-nominated director Robert O’Hara reimagines Malcolm as an Everyman whose story transcends time and space.

With a runtime of 3 hours and 42 minutes, the opera presents 12 vignettes from the life of Malcolm X. The story flows from his youth to his death, following the timeline from his life of poverty in Depression-era Lansing to his adolescence years in Boston and his pivotal hajj (pilgrimage in Mecca). The story moves to his life in New York City, and finally to his assassination in 1965.

Baritone Will Liverman sings Malcolm X, alongside soprano Leah Hawkins as his mother Louise, mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis as his sister Ella, bass-baritone Michael Sumuel as his brother Reginald, and tenor Victor Ryan Robertson as Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

Kazem Abdullah conducts the newly revised score, which provides a layered, jazz-inflected setting to the libretto.

Learn who Malcom X and reflect why his story is still relevant today from this enthralling opera on June 4, 5:30pm, exclusively at Greenbelt 3, Cinema 1, Makati City. Regular tickets are priced at Php350 but students and young professionals may avail of the discounted price of Php100 upon presentation of ID.

To purchase tickets, visit the ticket booth or book your tickets via www.sureseats.com. You may visit the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) and follow the official social media accounts on Facebook, X, Instagram, and YouTube for more details on CCP The Met: LIVE in HD Season 9.

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