Julie's Aria

Submitted by nonesuch on Wed, 05/04/2022 - 14:37
Release Date
DescriptionExcerpt

Rhiannon Giddens performs “Julie’s Aria,” a song from Omar, the new opera she wrote with Michael Abels, on this recording with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi and guitarist Bill Frisell. 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. “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,” Giddens says. “This is a story that hasn’t been represented in the operatic world—or in any world.”

Description

Omar, the opera composed by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, made its long-awaited world premiere on Friday, May 27, 2022, in Charleston, SC, at the Spoleto Festival USA. In the lead-up to this first performance, Giddens released her own recording of the song “Julie’s Aria” that is featured in the opera. Giddens 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.)

You can hear “Julie’s Aria” below and here, and read about Omar in the New York Times at nytimes.com.

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 (Omar was 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 films Get Out and Us.

Giddens’ latest album release, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch), won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album earlier this year. She tours throughout 2022 and will release her first book this fall, entitled Build a House. Written 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.

ns_album_releasedate
Album Status
Artist Name
Rhiannon Giddens
reissues?
new-release
Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
FLAC
Price
1.39
UPC
075597908473
Label
MP3
Price
1.29
UPC
075597908480

Track Listing

News & Reviews

  • Rhiannon Giddens is on the latest episode of BBC World Service’s Music Life with fellow musicians Alela Diane, Mariee Siou, and Uwade. They discuss the spark that goes off when songwriting goes well, how moments of personal growth and transition affect their music, thinking of taxes while performing, and more. You can hear their conversation here.

  • Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi performed live from the US Ambassador’s Residence in Dublin last month as part of the Other Voices special Dignity: Towards a More Equitable Future. For the event, a celebration of shared musical culture between the US and Ireland, Giddens and Turrisi performed "Calling Me Home" and "I Shall Not Be Moved," from their 2021 album, They’re Calling Me Home; "Build a House"; and Paul Simon’s "American Tune." You can watch the full show as well as the standalone performances of "American Tune" and "I Shall Not Be Moved" here.

  • About This Album

    Omar, the opera composed by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, made its long-awaited world premiere on Friday, May 27, 2022, in Charleston, SC, at the Spoleto Festival USA. In the lead-up to this first performance, Giddens released her own recording of the song “Julie’s Aria” that is featured in the opera. Giddens 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.)

    You can hear “Julie’s Aria” below and here, and read about Omar in the New York Times at nytimes.com.

    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 (Omar was 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 films Get Out and Us.

    Giddens’ latest album release, They’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch), won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album earlier this year. She tours throughout 2022 and will release her first book this fall, entitled Build a House. Written 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.