‘Unholy Wars’ seeks to reframe the Western musical canon

Karim Sulayman is having a whirlwind of a spring.

The Lebanese American, Grammy-winning tenor made his solo debut on the storied Carnegie Hall on May 19 earlier than flying the following day to Charleston for the Spoleto Festival USA. At the pageant, he’ll carry out the world premiere of Unholy Wars, a mixed-media, multidisciplinary piece he conceived in response to his relationship with Western classical music.

“It’s an insane time for me, but you know, I’m living the dream, baby,” stated Sulayman with fun throughout a latest telephone dialog with City Paper. 

The centerpiece of the efficiency is the Italian Baroque opera Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi, a narrative of the Crusades depicting a battle between a Christian knight and a Muslim warrior girl. 

Opera and classical music are concurrently artwork kinds that Sulayman stated he loves passionately and ones that place him, an Arab American, as the opposite and even the enemy. Unholy Wars is Sulayman’s try to reconcile these competing experiences and reclaim the narrative of the music that has been his life’s work.

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