Press

Acclaim
November 14, 2023

‘X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X’Review: Songs of Struggle at the Metropolitan Opera

Wall Street Journal
Director Robert O’Hara resurrects Anthony Davis’s 1986 work about the black civil-rights leader, in a production that gives thrilling voice to a richly jazzy score.
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Acclaim
November 5, 2023

Review: Anthony Davis’s Malcolm X Opera Finally Arrives at the Met

The New York Times
“X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” from 1986, receives its grandest treatment yet, in a production expected to play on opera stages from coast to coast.
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Acclaim
November 5, 2023

Metropolitan Opera 2023-24 Review: X: the Life and Times of Malcolm X

Opera Wire
The Met, traditionally a bastion of opera’s classic repertoire, transformed into a forum for reflection on social justice, equal rights, and the ongoing danger of police brutality or vigilante justice that Black Americans continue to face. It was an evening with profound impact.
Here, the conductor, Kazem Abdullah, coaxed luscious and cacophonous sounds from the incomparable Met orchestra, showing it can play any form of music required... Abdullah worked tirelessly on the podium to bring the music and musicians together to form a powerful whole greater than the sum of its parts.
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Feature
October 22, 2023

10/22/23: 'The Life and Times of Malcolm X' opera, Black American Music Association

ABC News: Here and Now
"X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X" is a new opera coming to the Met in November. Kazem Abdullah, who will be conducting the groundbreaking opera, sat down with Sandra to discuss the show.
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Acclaim
April 15, 2023

San Antonio Philharmonic: Climbing the mountain

Incident Light
Abdullah, born in Indiana and reared in Ohio, is making a mark as a conductor of contemporary work, both opera (a tryptich of world premieres dealing with social issues, last month at Lyric Opera of Chicago) and orchestral (a world premiere by Dai Fujikura with the Seattle Symphony in February).
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Acclaim
March 27, 2023

Anna Deavere Smith takes a fresh step with first opera, ‘The Walkers’

The Washington Post
An opera such as “The Walkers” feels like a powerful show of opera’s ability to combine grand spectacle with intimate storytelling, and the form’s untapped potential to contribute directly and immediately to critical cultural conversations.
Conductor Kazem Abdullah admirably led the Lyric Opera Orchestra, which sounded bright and vivid and felt wrapped around the singers’ voices all evening.
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Acclaim
March 26, 2023

Review: In Chicago, an Opera Triptych Reaches for Connection

The New York Times
In Lyric’s premiere here on Friday, “Proximity,” the company gave itself an even more ambitious assignment than one new commission: three of them, by three composer-librettist pairs, sharing a single evening.
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Feature
February 4, 2023

Abdullah, Hadelich and the Seattle Symphony offer a winter-conquering musical feast

Bachtrack
A warm bond developed between debuting guest conductor Kazem Abdullah and the Seattle Symphony musicians during the course of the concert, reaching incandescence in their cloud-busting account of the Finnish composer’s Seventh Symphony.
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Acclaim
January 13, 2023

Review: Guest conductor Kazem Abdullah strikes a rich balance with the ASO

ARTS ATL
Abdullah expertly guided the ASO through the music’s emotional peaks and valleys.
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Feature
January 10, 2023

Seattle Opera announces 60th anniversary season

Seattle Opera
Sought-after conductor Kazem Abdullah, praised for his “nimbleness” and “expert guidance” (Los Angeles Times), returns to Seattle after his debut in 2021’s filmed Tosca
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Acclaim
October 23, 2022

Commentary: Redemption, writ large, in L.A. Opera’s divine ‘Omar’

Los Angeles Times
Conductor Kazem Abdullah expertly guides the orchestra through African, Muslim and American styles.
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Acclaim
September 15, 2022

Review: After 36 Years, a Malcolm X Opera Sings to the Future

NY Times
Guided sensitively by the conductor Kazem Abdullah, the music goes on to swerve from punchy modernism to lyrical lushness, from peaceful worship to nervous energy and stentorian forcefulness.
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Acclaim
July 22, 2022

Review: A New Opera Tells an Original Story With an Open Heart

New York Times
The orchestra is conducted with calm confidence by Kazem Abdullah — the result is passionate, but also clear, focused and humble.
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Acclaim
March 23, 2022

The appalling miscarriage of justice: ‘Central Park Five’ at Portland Opera

Oregon ArtsWatch
Absolutely stunning. Riveting. The best and most ambitious production Portland Opera has presented in my 31 years of reviewing.
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Acclaim
February 22, 2022

Copland, Eastman works provide the highlights to close “Clarinet Visions”

South Florida Classical Review
Abdullah drew brilliant and precise playing from the ensemble and displayed real affinity for Copland’s distinctive Americana idiom.
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Feature
February 2, 2022

Lyric Opera is back at full blast: 2022-23 season begins with Verdi and concludes with a return for ‘West Side Story’

Chicago Tribune
”Proximity” is conducted by Kazem Abdullah in his Lyric debut
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Feature
February 1, 2022

Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces 2022/23 Season Featuring Two World Premieres

Broadway World
Proximity is conducted by Kazem Abdullah in his Lyric debut; Lyric Special Projects Advisor Renée Fleming is the project's curator.
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Feature
September 16, 2021

A Malcolm X Opera Will Come to the Met

NY Times
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Feature
September 16, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera announces the company premiere of Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, to be presented in the 2023–24 season

Metropolitan Opera
Baritone Will Liverman stars in the title role of the opera, which will be conducted by Kazem Abdullah
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Acclaim
January 13, 2019

Ein romantisches Kunstwerk von spiritueller Schönheit

Thüringer Allgemeine
Concert: Thüringer Philharmonie, 10. Jan 2019 Kulturhaus Gotha, Germany
"Ein romantisches Kunstwerk von spiritueller Schönheit"
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Feature
October 31, 2018

GMC Commercial Precision Performance

GMC
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Acclaim
May 31, 2018

Brokeback Mountain

Opera News
Opera: Brokeback Mountain, 30. May 2018, New York City Opera, New York, USA
"Conductor Kazem Abdullah was a rock for his cast and orchestra"
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Acclaim
May 21, 2018

Review: Symphony revels in American classics

The Florida Times - Union
Concert: "American Landscapes", 22-24 May 2018, Jacksonvile Symphonie, Jacksonville Florida, USA
"The standout performance of the entire season"
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Acclaim
March 26, 2018

Frankfurter Staatsorchester spielt Debussy

Märkische Allgemeine
Concert: Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, 25. Mar 2018, Potsdam, Germany
"Dirigent Kazem Abdullah bringt das Orchester in Fluss"
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Feature
October 5, 2016

Social Connection Through Music

TEDxTalk RWTH Aachen
In his talk, Kazem Abdullah makes use of several examples of performances to show just how well the art of opera can transmit powerful emotions and help connect through music.
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Acclaim
April 30, 2014

La Clemenza di Tito, Opéra national de Lorraine, Nancy, France – review

Financial Times
The evening’s reward comes from Kazem Abdullah’s superb, sensitively detailed conducting.
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