Abels: Omar goes to Boston

Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) has been eager for New England audiences to encounter Omar since we became a partner in creating this extraordinary new opera.” – Bradley Vernatter

On the eve of the BLO’s New England premiere of co-composers Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ work Omar, General Director & CEO Bradley Vernatter shares some thoughts about the May 4 – 7, 2023 production at the Cutler Majestic Theater. Omar – co-commissioned by the Spoleto Festival USA and the LA Opera – premiered in spring 2022 at Spoleto, after having been postponed twice due to the Covid pandemic. The production was directed by Kaneza Schaal and conducted by John Kennedy. Tenor Jamez McCorkle originated the title role. In fall 2022, Kazem Abdullah conducted the opera’s second performance at the LA Opera’s West Coast premiere as Schall directed, and McCorkle reprised the role he brought to life. BLO’s production sees both Schaal and McCorkle return, led, this time, by Michael Ellis Ingram. Vernatter continues. “Commissioning works like Omar by composers like Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels underscores our commitment to the next generation of operatic masterpieces.”

“Opera is an art form that can contain big emotions,” notes Rebecca Ann S. Kirk, BLO Director of Community and Learning. “Boston Lyric Opera is pleased to present Omar. Through the shifting darkness of memories and imagination, Omar invites us to bear witness to one man’s journey in remaining true to himself, his people, with his faith – against all odds. Omar sheds light on a long-disregarded true story, lifting it into the light with a richly orchestrated score combining sounds and melodies from Americana, Arabic, and West African folk traditions to create a radiant narrative of strength, resilience, and conviction.”

For more information about the Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Omar, visit them here.