Music by George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Mary Kouyoumdjian
Performed in Latin and Italian with English supertitles
Part of Festival O23
Unholy Wars closes the dusty history book and reframes the Crusades from a Middle Eastern perspective to reveal a new story of belonging and resilience. Conceived and created by Lebanese American tenor Karim Sulayman, music by Handel and Monteverdi is interwoven with that of composer Mary Kouyoumdjian to explore and reclaim representations of his identity. Reexamining Baroque interpretations of the Crusades and depictions of the Middle East, Sulayman asks "Can we lean into the discomfort of our collective history while forging a new path forward?"
This boundary-breaking piece premiered at Spoleto Festival USA, where critics called it "emotional" and "powerful." The intimate staging directed by Kevin Newbury, with visual narrative by Kevork Mourad, explores the tensions of history, representation, identity, and survival through music and dance.
MapThe Suzanne Roberts Theatre
|Sat, Sep 23||8:00 p.m.|
|Wed, Sep 27||7:00 p.m.|
|Sat, Sep 30||8:00 p.m.|
|Sun, Oct 1||7:00 p.m.|
Approximately 70 minutes with no intermission.
Commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA, developed by Up Until Now Collective, and co-produced by Spoleto Festival USA and Up Until Now Collective.
Cast & Creative Team
- Julie Andrijeski * Music Director
- Kevork Mourad * Visual Design
- Ebony Williams * Choreography
- Jennifer Fok * Lighting Design
- David Woolard Costume Design
- Michael Commendatore * Projection Design
- Rick Jacobsohn Sound Design
- Jecca Barry Creative Producer
- *Opera Philadelphia debut