News for September/October 2022


Los Angeles Opera’s fall productions include Donizetti’s LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and OMAR, a new opera by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels. LUCIA will be performed Sept. 17-Oct. 9; OMAR Oct. 22-Nov. 13, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic opera is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Based on a text by Salvatore Cammarano (after Walter Scott), it is a bel canto opera of intense dramatic stature. It tells the tale of Lucia, a woman who doesn’t want to marry the man her abusive brother has picked out for her (in order to save the family’s failing finances). What’s worse, the man she does love is her brother’s sworn enemy.

Two extraordinary sopranos, Amanda Woodbury and Liv Redpath, will take on the iconic title role. Lina Gonzalez-Granados, in her L.A. Opera debut, will conduct. Simon Stone is the director of this new production.

OMAR is based on an account by Omar Ibn Said, a West African scholar who in early 1800 was captured and forced onto a slave ship bound for South Carolina. His autobiography, written in Arabic, has been adapted by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels and serves as the inspiration of their new opera, which will be sung in English.

Set in an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of memory and imagination, Omar sings of his compelling journey from a peaceful life in his homeland to captivity in a violent and foreign world. Through it all, he somehow remains true to himself and his faith.

Giddens and Abels’ score incorporates distinctive West African traditions with traditional opera instrumentation. Tenor James McCorkle makes his company debut as Omar, with bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch taking on the double role of two very different slave masters.

The New York Times’ opera critic said this about OMAR: “I am still pondering the artistic miracle that unfolded before me...a showcase for the musical genius of Rhiannon Giddens.”
Kazeem Abdullah conducts OMAR, Kaneza Schall directs.

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