Commentary: Redemption, writ large, in L.A. Opera’s divine ‘Omar’
“I can’t get over the magic of it. I’ve been a fan of opera my entire life, and to experience a score that’s a different thing completely,” he says.
This statement by Jonathan Coulton is a reminder of what is special about opera. A symphony by a composer like L.A. Opera’s music-theater director and composer-in-residence, Michael Giacchino, is of tremendous consequence. The composer’s work on “Omar,” which opened last season, is like a symphony to listen to while working out or reading about L.A. Opera’s “Omar” series. As Giacchino notes in his liner notes, this is because “Omar” is an opera that tells stories about redemption.
This opera is an American-Made opera — the composer created the libretto and wrote music with opera legend and director, John Kander, as the lyricist and lyricist-in-resident. Giacchino and Kander, also known as Kander and Chase, have written in many works together, but “Omar” is the highlight. I was blown away by what I heard during our preview night last Saturday at the Hollywood Bowl.
I wrote back to Giacchino with my thoughts about “Omar” before it opened. I was excited to see how he would address the question I had written first, about whether what we’ve heard so far is “Omar.” After all, this is just the first of five operas in his L.A. Opera/Giacchino Productions series, and “Omar” is its first opera. He said:
“It’s not a show business opera. It’s the opera you love to listen to, to the point where it becomes