Nonesuch Releases Rhiannon Giddens’ Recording Of Julie’s Aria From Her New Opera Omar | Shore Fire Media

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19 May, 2022Print

Nonesuch Releases Rhiannon Giddens’ Recording Of “Julie’s Aria” From Her New Opera Omar

Which Receives Its World Premiere Next Friday At Spoleto Festival USA

Track Features Giddens Along With Bill Frisell And Francesco Turrisi



Omar, the opera composed by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, makes its long-awaited world premiere next Friday, May 27 in Charleston, SC at the Spoleto Festival USA. In the lead-up to this first performance, Giddens has released her own recording of the song “Julie’s Aria” that is featured in the opera. Today The New York Times shared “Julie’s Aria” as part of a profile of Giddens, who also wrote the opera’s libretto. The recording was recently made by Giddens with guitarist Bill Frisell and her frequent collaborator Francesco Turrisi (Giddens does not perform in the production of Omar).  

Listen to “Julie’s Aria” here and read the article here:

Omar is based on the life and autobiography of enslaved Muslim scholar Omar Ibn Said, who was forcefully brought to Charleston, SC from Africa in 1807. In a statement, Giddens notes: “My work as a whole is about excavating and shining a light on pieces of history that not only need to be seen and heard, but that can also add to the conversation about what’s going on now. This is a story that hasn’t been represented in the operatic world—or in any world.”  

Other major opera companies will perform Omar as well, including LA Opera in the fall of 2022 followed by Lyric Opera of Chicago, Boston Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a co-producer of the work (Omarwas previously scheduled to debut at Spoleto in 2020 but was postponed that year and again in 2021 due to the pandemic). Giddens worked on the score with composer Michael Abels, who is known for his work on Jordan Peele's Get Out and Us films. 

Giddens’ latest album release, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch), won a GRAMMY for Best Folk Album earlier this year. She tours throughout 2022 and will release her first book this fall, entitled Build a HouseWritten as a song to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, Build a House is illustrated by painter Monica Mikai and tells the story of a people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them.  


Omar Performance Dates:

May 27 – Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA

May 30 – Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA

June 2 – Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA

June 5 – Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA

 June 8 – Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA

June 12 – Charleston, SC – Spoleto Festival USA

October 22 - November 13 – Los Angeles, CA – LA Opera

May 4 (2023) – Boston, MA – Boston Lyric Opera

May 6 (2023) – Boston, MA – Boston Lyric Opera

May 7 (2023) – Boston, MA – Boston Lyric Opera


2022 Concert Tour Dates

May 21 – Richmond, VA – The Richmond Forum (speaking event)

June 16-17 – San Francisco, CA – Miner Auditorium *

June 18-19 – Telluride, CO – Telluride Bluegrass Festival *

June 24 – Owensboro, KY – ROMP Festival *

July 1-11 – Patmos, Greece – Journeying Into the Common Good (teaching residency)

July 19 – Hanover, NH – Hopkins Center of the Arts ~

July 22 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival ~

July 23 – Newark, NJ – New Jersey Performing Arts Center ~

July 24 – Vienna, VA – Filene Center at Wolf Trap ~

July 27 – Worcester, MA – Music Worcester ~

July 28 – Lenox, MA – Seiji Ozawa Hall (Tanglewood) ~

July 30 – Skaneateles, NY – Skaneateles Festival ~

Aug. 23 – Chautauqua, NY – Chautauqua Amphitheater (with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra)

Oct. 15 – New York, NY – Weill Recital Hall (Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: When I Am Laid in Earth)

Nov. 4 – New York, NY – Isaac Stern Auditorium ^

Nov. 12 – Los Angeles, CA – Walt Disney Concert Hall (with the LA Philharmonic and Resistance Revival Chorus)

Jan. 24, 2023 – New York, NY – Zankel Hall *

March 10, 2023 – New York, NY – Zankel Hall (Rhiannon Giddens with Members of the Silkroad Ensemble: Indigenous Connections)

* with Francesco Turrisi

~ Silkroad Ensemble with Rhiannon Giddens

^ Our Native Daughters