B I O G R A P H Y
Boston-based artist 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 recently made his international debut creating the title role in Joseph Summer’s operatic adaptation of Hamlet with Bulgaria’s State Opera Rousse. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in La Boheme with Opera Steamboat, Shakur in Thumbprint with Portland Opera, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet with Boston Lyric Opera, Lord Byron in the world-premiere of The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage with Guerilla Opera, Alfredo in La Traviata with MassOpera, Gastone in La Traviata with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, tenor soloist in St John Passion with Emmanuel Music, Tito in La Clemenza di Tito with Opera Steamboat, Bilal in This Is Not That Dawn with Catalyst New Music, and featured soloist in Boston Lyric Opera’s virtual concert series B., highlighting works by Asian and Asian-American composers/poets. Najmi enjoys a long standing relationship with Boston Lyric Opera where he began his professional career as an Emerging Artist (2013-2015). He has performed over 15 productions at the company, and he served as their first ever Emerging Composer in the 2020/2021 season. His other operatic engagements have included Opera Colorado, Chautauqua Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Maine, Opera Fayetteville, Opera NEO, Opera North, Odyssey Opera, American Lyric Theater, and more.
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 performed several times as a soloist with the touring concert Video Games Live, including an appearance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra 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 place nationally in the Handel Aria Competition, 2nd prize from the Wilkinson Young Singers Fund, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellowship from Emmanuel Music, and he has been 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 song cycle More Than Our Own Caves will be premiered by Juventas New Music in January 2023. 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.
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. Visit www.catalystnewmusic.com for more info.