Karen Cox

Omar is an American opera, composed by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, with a libretto by Giddens. It had its world premiere at the Spoleto Festival USA in 2022.

Omar won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

The opera is about a real person, Omar ibn Said, and is based on his autobiography written in 1831, mostly in Arabic. It is the only known memoir written by a slave in America in Arabic. The opera tells the true story of an enslaved man taken from his home in what is now Senegal and trafficked to South Carolina.

Karen Cox is my friend.

Not just a friend,
but one of the best I’ve ever had.

So maybe I’m biased.

Karen Cox sees the world through her lens-
not the world she wants to see –
or that she thinks should be-
but the world that IS.

The stories, waiting to be collected …
the faces, waiting to be respected ,
the voices – waiting to be seen.

A gift, in the best of times-
And desperately needed in times like these.

Karen Cox finds the photo in the raucous leap,
the wind in the trees,
the loving, murmured discussion

And we are all the better for it.
Maybe I’m biased…

And maybe I just know truth telling when I see it.

—Rhiannon Giddens