Sons. Teachers. Farmers. Mothers. Of the millions of lives forever altered or lost by forced ocean crossings, how many of their stories are known?

This new opera, written by Rhiannon Giddens and co-composed with Michael Abels, tells the story of Omar Ibn Said, a Fulani Islamic Scholar, stolen and enslaved in the United States.

“I am interested in the contest of languages in Said’s life, spiritual languages, cultural languages, spoken and written languages, and ultimately how he came to hold them all. The opera, a form built on hundreds of year of cultural exchange, provides a place big enough for Said’s journey brim with triumph, terror, resistance, omission, refusal, and reincarnation. It is from this understanding that we tend to the exquisite score.”
– Kaneza Schaal

Music by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Production Design by Christopher Myers
Scenic Design by Amy Rubin
Projections by Josh Higgason
Lighting Design by Alejandro Fajardo (Spoleto Festival USA, Carolina Performing Arts, Boston Lyric Opera) & Pablo Santiago (Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera)
Costume Design by April Hickman and Micheline Russell-Brown
Assistant Direction by Ian Askew
Choreography by Kiara Benn
Technical Direction by Cheyanne Williams

Spoleto Festival, May 27-June 12, 2022 [Premier]
LA Opera, October 22-November 13, 2022
Carolina Performing Arts, February 25-26, 2023
Boston Lyric Opera, May 4-7, 2023

San Francisco Opera, November 5-21, 2023

“Omar,” an opera illuminating a Muslim slave’s life in America, CBS Sunday Morning
At the Spoleto Festival, Opera Is an Act of Liberation, New York Times

Cory Weaver