Spoleto Festival USA Postpones World Premiere of ‘Omar’

By David Salazar

The Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina has announced that it will be postponing the world premiere production of “Omar.”

The work, which was set to premiere in 2020, will now be postponed until the 2022 season. The opera is written by Rhiannon Giddens and is based on the life of Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved Muslim-African man brought to Charleston in 1807. The opera is co-composed by Michael Abels and will be conducted by John Kennedy. The production will be directed by Charlotte Braithwaite with Jamez McCorkle in the lead role as Said.

The company did note that it would be presenting a discussion series on the opera starting on March 9 with “Justice for Omar.” Panelists will include choreographer Bill T. Johns and Charleston Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker. The event will be moderated by Tamara Butler of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston.

The company is also set to officially announce its 2021 season on April 5, 2021, with ticket sales set to start the following week.