Casting and production announcements for Boston Lyric Opera’s (BLO) spring 2023 performances are being released today, including performers in BLO’s premiere production of Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs in March 2023 and the New England premiere of Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ new opera, Omar in May 2023. Public tickets for both performances are on sale December 1.
Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs
Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny stars as the fictional, fairytale character Bluebeard in Béla Bartók’s one-act psychological thriller Bluebeard’s Castle that will be paired with the dramatic song cycle Four Songs (Vier Lieder) by composer Alma Mahler (wife of Gustav). The highly anticipated production is directed by Anne Bogart, whose 2019 version of The Handmaid’s Tale for BLO received universal acclaim and was one of BLO’s best-selling shows. Naomi Louisa O’Connell sings the role of Judith, the bride who realizes she’s gotten herself into a much different post-nuptial situation than she envisioned. O’Connell also performs Mahler’s “Four Songs.” BLO Music Director David Angus conducts. Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs will play March 22-26, 2023 in an immersive, multi-genre experience that includes a salon-like atmosphere, dance and more installed at The Terminal @ Flynn Cruiseport in South Boston.
Tenor Jamez McCorkle stars in Omar , the title role he premiered at the Spoleto Festival last spring and brought to LA Opera this fall. Omar is the story of Omar Ibn Said, a prominent scholar of the Islamic faith and many other subjects, who was born to a wealthy West African family. Enslaved in South Carolina at 37 years old, Ibn Said escaped his first place of enslavement and headed to North Carolina where he lived as a slave until his death in 1864. His is the only known autobiographical essay written in Arabic by a Muslim man enslaved in America.
Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens wrote the libretto and composed the music in partnership with film and orchestral composer Michael Abels for a production conceived by Kaneza Schaal. Classical Voice San Francisco called the production “a profoundly moving spectacle,” and lauded McCorkle’s performance as “a career-defining role.” Michael Ellis Ingram conducts the BLO Orchestra and Chorus.
Additional casting announced for Omar includes Cierra Byrd in the role of Fatima, Omar’s Mother and Daniel Okulitch playing the dual roles of enslavers James Owen / Johnson. BLO Emerging Artists (current and alumni) in principal roles include: Neal Ferreira as Auctioneer / Taylor; Emma Sorenson as Eliza, Little Daughter; Nicholas LaGesse as Abdul, Omar’s Brother / Abe; and Fred C. VanNess Jr. as Amadou-Renty. Catherine Daniel plays Katie Ellen/The Caller. Omar plays May 4-7, 2023 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater.
Omar is co-commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA, Carolina Performing Arts, L.A. Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera. It is inspired by Dr. Ala Alryyes’s translation of Omar Ibn Said’s autobiography in his book A Muslim American Slave: The Life of Omar Ibn Said.
Tickets on Sale
Individual tickets for BLO’s Spring 2023 performances of Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs and Omar are on sale December 1. Two-show subscriptions, also available now, offer a 10% discount over individual tickets.
Subscriptions and individual tickets can be purchased online at blo.org, by phone at 617.542.6772 or by email at [email protected].