Venue: College of Charleston Sottile Theatre

Duration: Approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes


NOTE: This event has been cancelled. Ticket purchasers will be contacted about processing returns. For more information, click here.

Music and Libretto by Rhiannon Giddens
Music Co-composed by Michael Abels
Conducted by John Kennedy
Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite
Choreographed by Ni’Ja Whitson

A voice forgotten no more

In 1807, a 37-year-old scholar living in West Africa was captured and forced to board a ship bound for Charleston, South Carolina―the site of his enslavement and sale. Omar Ibn Said’s life and Muslim faith, recorded in his autobiography from 1831, are remembered and retold in this compelling new American opera.

North Carolina-native Rhiannon Giddens has made a name for herself excavating unsung historical black narratives and turning them into folk ballads―purposeful work that has placed her on countless stages and resulted in a long list of accolades, including a Grammy Award and MacArthur Fellowship. Collaborating with renowned composer Michael Abels (Get Out), Giddens melds her archaeological lens and operatic background in this world premiere.

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Please note: There is a 6 ticket limit per purchase for Omar.

Related events:

  • Omar Ibn Said Jamez McCorkle
  • Omar's Mother Cheryse McLeod Lewis
  • Julie Laquita Mitchell
  • John Owen / Master Daniel Okulitch
  • Omar's Brother / Man to be Sold Michael Redding
  • Katie Ellen Catherine Daniels
  • Little Daughter Ashley Emerson
  • Auctioneer / Master Owen's Friend Adam Klein
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Omar Ibn Said; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

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Rhiannon Giddens

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Michael Abels

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John Kennedy

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Charlotte Brathwaite

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Jamez McCorkle

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Daniel Okulitch

Generous support provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; Ford Foundation; Deborah Kennedy Kennard and William E. Kennard; OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust; Post and Courier Foundation; Leslie K. Williams and James A. Attwood, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Richard K. DeScherer; and Ms. Susan L. Baker and Mr. Michael R. Lynch. Omar is co-commissioned and co-produced by Spoleto Festival USA and Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Carolina Performing Arts’ participation in this project is made possible through the support of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. Opera programming is endowed by the Arthur and Holly Magill Foundation.