A tale of young love and royalty in disguise, Mozart’s comic gem, The Royal Shepherd (Il Re Pastore), is one stunning aria after another. This production—though at its heart a simple story of love vs. duty—wrestles with age-old questions about authenticity, identity, gender roles, and what makes a good, just leader. And this being Mozart—the most human and compassionate of composers with such a deep understanding of the human heart—the opera emerges as a touching, entertaining and uplifting fable, complete with a double wedding at the end. A perfect summer evening's entertainment!
The Royal Shepherd: Alessandro
Boston-based tenor Omar Najmi splits his time between composition and performance, maintaining a busy schedule as an operatic tenor. Praised as “a world class voice in every respect,” Najmi recent debuted in the in the title role of Joseph Summer’s adaptation of Hamlet with Bulgaria’s State Opera Rousse. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in La Bohème with Opera Steamboat, Astolfo in Furiosus with Mercury Opera, Shakur in Thumbprint with Portland Opera, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet with Boston Lyric Opera, Spearmint Lodge in the world-premiere of The Artwork of the Future with Fresh-Squeezed Opera, Alfredo in La Traviata with MassOpera, Gastone in La Traviata with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, tenor soloist in St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio with Emmanuel Music, Tito in La Clemenza di Tito with Opera Steamboat, Bilal in This Is Not That Dawn with Catalyst New Music and Alessandro in Il re Pastore with Orpheus PDX.
Najmi enjoys a long-standing relationship with Boston Lyric Opera where he has performed in over 15 productions. He also served as their first ever Emerging Composer in the 2020/2021 season. Other credits include roles with Opera Colorado, Chautauqua Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Maine, Opera Fayetteville, Opera NEO, Opera North, Odyssey Opera, American Lyric Theater, and more.
Omar Najmi made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018 as the tenor soloist in Mark Hayes’ Gloria. He has since returned as the soloist in Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, and as a soloist in Talents of the World Inc.’s Caruso Tribute Concert. He has toured with concert Video Games Live, including an appearance with the Colorado Symphony at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. Najmi has been the recipient of the Harold Norblom Award from Opera Colorado, the Stephen Shrestinian Award from Boston Lyric Opera, 2nd prize from the Wilkinson Young Singers Fund, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellowship from Emmanuel Music, 2nd place nationally in the Handel Aria Competition, and was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.
Najmi began his composition career with the production of his first opera, En la ardiente oscuridad, in 2019. After a run of sold-out performances, he was invited to serve as the first ever Emerging Composer in residence with Boston Lyric Opera, where he worked with Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla in the creation of the song cycle my name is Alondra. The piece received its live premiere on BLO’s Street Stage in 2021.
In 2022, his motet The Last Invocation was premiered by Emmanuel Music. His recently commissioned song cycle More Than Our Own Caves just received its premiere with Juventas New Music Ensemble. He is currently working on Jo dooba so paar – a short opera exploring the intersection of Queer and Muslim identity – which will be premiered as part of White Snake Projects’ Let’s Celebrate initiative. His opera-in-progress The Fermi Paradox is currently a semi-finalist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ New Works Collective.
In 2022, Najmi and his husband Brendon Shapiro co-founded Catalyst New Music – an organization dedicated to fostering, developing, and producing new works. Catalyst’s first project – presented with the support of The Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston grant – was a concert performance of Najmi’s new opera This Is Not That Dawn, a drama set during and after the Partition of India.