BMI is very proud to congratulate composer Rhiannon Giddens, who was awarded the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music for co-writing the opera, Omar. Based on the autobiography of Muslim scholar Omar Ibn Said, Giddens’ libretto of the Prize-winning work is performed in English and Arabic, richly illustrating the epic narrative of Said’s abduction from his West African homeland during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 1800’s to a life of enslavement in Charleston, South Carolina. After years of hardship, Said wrote his historic memoirs in Arabic to inspire future generations with his powerful story of survival, dignity and spiritual conviction. Intertwined with Gidden’s melodies in a treatment that blends West African tradition with modern opera, Omar is a deeply moving, immersive and uplifting experience.
Giddens is also a multiple-GRAMMY-winning musician, multi-instrumentalist and seasoned vocalist. She was a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, with whom she sang, played fiddle and banjo. She has released several albums, both as a solo artist and as a member of various bands including Gaelwynd, The New Basement Tapes and Our Native Daughters.
Additional information about upcoming performances of Omar at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, CA can be found here.