Spoleto Festival USA will present “Exploring Omar,” a free, eight-part discussion series as part of the Festival’s education and community engagement arm, Spoleto ETC. The hourlong programs, held virtually via YouTube Live, will expand on the historical context and cultural significance of Omar, Spoleto’s upcoming world premiere opera written by Rhiannon Giddens and based on the life of Omar Ibn Said. SC Humanities supported this series with a Major Grant.
Tuesday, December 15, at 5:00 pm
Exploring Omar: Complex Identities in the Arts
Past and present Spoleto artists discuss bias in opera
On May 28, 2021, Omar Ibn Said’s story will be told through opera—an artform that has, historically, contributed to the unjust practices of systemic racism and failed to promote the voices of Black and non-white artists, especially in directorial or leadership roles. In this talk, artists of current and past Spoleto Festival USA productions—including director and designer Jennifer Wen Ma, director Atom Egoyan, and Omar librettist and co-composer Rhiannon Giddens—discuss their unique experiences on stages nationwide and the biases they have faced in the performing arts industry. Festival Director of Orchestral Activities and Omar conductor John Kennedy serves as moderator.