Jamez McCorkle Headlines West Coast Premiere of ‘Omar’ at Los Angeles Opera

By Nicolas Quiroga

Los Angeles Opera will present “Omar” starring on Oct. 22, 2022. 

The new opera by composers Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels recounts American slavery written by a Omar Ibn Said who was kidnapped and forced to board a ship bound for South Carolina.  Kazem Abdullah conducts and Kaneza Schaal directs.

Tenor Jamez McCorkle headlines the cast as Omar. He is joined by mezzo-soprano Amanda Lynn Bottoms as Fatima, Omar’s mother; bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch, in the dual role of Johnson and Owen; soprano Jackeline Echols, in the role of Julie; and tenor Barry Banks as Hades. The cast will include two young singers performing with the company for the first time: mezzo-soprano Deepa Johnny and bass-baritone Alan Williams.

“This stunning opera follows the compelling journey of Omar Ibn Said, whose 1831 autobiography is the only known American slavery narrative written in Arabic,” said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera’s president and CEO, in an official press statement. “The extraordinary cast and creative team we’ve assembled, many of whom are making their first appearances with the company, will bring to our stage a truly imaginative artistic vision for this powerful and important new work.”

The opera runs through Nov. 13, 2022 for a total of six performances. “Omar” had its world premiere on May 27, 2022 at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina