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A Tempo: Spoleto Commission Tells Story of Muslim African Slave

Randolph Linsly Simpson African American Collection, James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

In 1807, a slave ship arrived in Charleston carrying Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim from Western Africa, who at the age of 37 was well-educated and literate in Arabic. Sold into slavery, he went on to write an autobiography, and his story will be brought to life on the opera stage next season at the Spoleto Festival. The opera is being written by musician and MacArthur Fellow Rhiannon Giddens and composer Michael Abels, who penned the filmscores for Jordan Peele's "Get Out" and "Us." A Tempo host Rachel Katz this Saturday (8/10) will speak with Abels and Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden about the opera and Ibn Said's story.

Credit Photo by Todd Robinson
Composer Michael Abels is collaborating with Rhiannon Giddens on an opera about the life of Omar Ibn Said for the Spoleto Festival.

Rachel Katz is the host of A Tempo which airs Saturdays at 7 pm.