Spoleto Festival USA Announces New Opera For 2020

By David Salazar

The Spoleto Festival USA has announced that it will be producing a new untitled opera that will be the first opera by Rhiannon Giddens.

The work will center on the 1831 autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved Muslim-African who came to Charleston’s Gadsden’s Wharf in 1807.

Giddens, will be composer and librettist on the project. She is a Grammy Award winner and a MacArthur Fellow. The work will also feature work of composer Michael Abels. John Kennedy will conduct the opera, which will be directed by Charlotte Brathwaite.

Tenor Jamez McCorkle, who is set to appear in “La Forza del Destino” in Zurich this month, will star as the lead character. Daniel Okulitch will star as his master. Okulitch will be appearing in at the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Opéra de Montréal in 2019-20.

Performances will be announced as the festival draws nearer.