A New World Premiere Opera

May  2022
Spoleto Festival USA

Composed by Rhiannon Giddens
Co-composed by Michael Abels
Libretto by Rhiannon Giddens
Conducted by John Kennedy
Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite

Set Design by Mimi Lien

Lighting Design by Ben Zamora

Video Design by Kent Barrett

Jamez McCorkle as Omar Ibn Said
and Daniel Okulitch as the Master

Spoleto Festival USA announces its commission of a new full-length opera by MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens, based on the life and autobiography of Omar Ibn Said. 

The Festival’s choice of tapping Rhiannon Giddens to mold this opera was an easy decision. A musical archaeologist known for exploring the legacy of African-American folk traditions, honoring marginalized artists, and drawing from historical documents to create original material, Giddens also studied opera and vocal performance at Oberlin College. “My work as a whole is about excavating and shining a light on pieces of history that not only need to be seen and heard, but that can also add to the conversation about what’s going on now,” she says, “This is a story that hasn’t been represented in the operatic world—or in any world.”

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