The Qadar Operetta is a fictitious and cultural tale for the whole family by Tony Small. It was commissioned by National Museum of African Art and a gift from Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center to celebrate Omani arts and cultures. Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa.
Artistic and operatic direction for the work is by Mezzo-Soprano Denyce Graves — allowing youth and new audiences to be introduced to the making of a new opera under the direction of a world renowned opera singer. The brainchild and creative consultant for creating the work is Nicole Shivers with stage direction by Jeremy Gold Kronenberg!
It features choreography by Oscar Hawkins, Peabody and Morgan State University young opera singers, the Duke Ellington Show Choir, Backdrop artwork by international muralist Joel Bergner, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington youth and many more…
Indigenous Musicians and Advisors
A team of international and award winning team of composers, performers and musicians have been intricately involved in crafting the authentic Omani and Zanzibar nuances for the operetta featuring: Dr. Andrei Pidkivka (A middle eastern woodwind specialist featured in Lord of the Rings and many film scores), featured violin soloist Chelsey Green, Juliette Jones, Victor Provost (DC’s international percussionist who was featured at Oman’s Royal Opera house last September, 2014), Vasko Dukovski (who was born in the middle east and has a masters from Juilliard) and a host of other award winning artists that have worked with Tony Small for decades.
Narrative: This timeless tale began when two young folk musicians from two different countries met and became great friends at the Oman Festival. Ahmed SURNANI is from Quriyat Oman and Mombasa is from Zanzibar, East Africa. For many years the two friends make their annual pilgrimage to the Muscat festival to celebrate, perform and learn about music and cultures from all over the world -- even after they marry and each have a male child. Surnani is the real surname for fishermen in Quriyat and Mombasa affectionately introduces Ahmed at the festival as Surnani; it remains his stage, performance and the name that Mombasa’s son OMANI continues to call him in private; In 2007, Mombasa brings his wife and son for their first visit to Oman and to meet Surnani’s family. As they drive from Muscat to Quriyat, they are hurled into the Cyclonic Storm (Ganu); one of the worst storms recorded in Oman’s history (an actual occurrence in 2007). Only Surnani and Mombasa’s son, Omani, survive the fatal car accident. Mombasa had already named his son Omani in honor of his best friend Surnani and the Omani people. Mombasa’s dying request was that Surnani raise Omani as his own and in memory of Surnani’s own son who also died in the “GANU accident.” Most importantly, Mombasa requested that while Surnani raises Omani, that when he is older to also teach him the cultural traditions of Zanzibar.
But that’s not where the opera begins…we don’t hear that part of the tale until much later in the opera.