CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Spoleto Festival USA’s 46th season opens with a world premiere—a newly commissioned opera by Rhiannon Giddens, a Grammy winning singer, songwriter, and banjoist known for exploring the legacy of African-American folk traditions.
Tapped to mold the opera, Giddens created the libretto and wrote the music. Michael Abels, an American composer who wrote the music for Jordan Peele’s acclaimed films “Get Out” and “Us,” is working closely with Giddens to develop the score.
The opera, titled “Omar,” is based on the life and autobiography of Omar Ibn Said.
Omar Ibn Said was an enslaved Muslim-African man, brought to Charleston in 1807. The opera’s story traces his spiritual journey from Africa to his capture and enslavement in the Carolinas. Much of what we know about Ibn Said comes from his autobiography, which he penned in Arabic in 1831.
“Omar” will be presented through June 12.