The Secret River

7:30PM, Friday, December 17, 2021
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
2:00PM, Saturday, December 18, 2021
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
7:30PM, Saturday, December 18, 2021
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
2:00PM, Sunday, December 19, 2021
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 South Magnolia Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

Opera Orlando presents the world premiere of The Secret River – an opera for all audiences – based on the book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Follow the journey of young Calpurnia through the backwoods of Central Florida and find the goodness within us all.

The Secret River is Opera Orlando’s first commissioned new work based on the young adult book of the same name by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. A Pulitzer prize- winning author, Ms. Rawlings was well known for her novel, The Yearling, and several other writings that chronicled her experiences living in and around Central Florida. Her young adult book, The Secret River, was published posthumously in 1955 and subsequently awarded a Newbery Honor Book Award.

With a libretto by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy award-winner Mark Campbell and music by University of Central Florida Pegasus professor Stella Sung, The Secret River is set in Central Florida during the Great Depression and follows the journey of Calpurnia, a young, intelligent girl with a robust imagination as she searches for a secret river to help her family and small town. This story for all ages demonstrates the power of trusting one’s imagination and the goodness within us all. Opera Orlando favorite Kyaunnee Richardson, soprano, returns to sing the role of Calpurnia, with baritone Geoffrey Peterson and acclaimed soprano NaGuanda Nobles singing the roles of her Father and Mother and mezzo Kimberly Milton taking on the role of Mother Albirtha. Metropolitan Opera soprano Emily Pulley rounds out the cast and makes her Opera Orlando debut as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

The production will feature musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the Opera Orlando Youth Company under the baton of Everett McCorvey, founder and music director of the American Spiritual Ensemble. The piece will be directed by Dennis Whitehead Darling featuring puppetry created and performed by Michelee Puppets.

Stay after the show for a special talk back with the cast and puppeteers where you and your family will get a chance to see the puppets up close and maybe even play the part of puppeteer. A great experience for all ages.


Music by Stella Sung with a libretto by Mark Campbell
Based on the book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Estimated run time of 75 minutes with no intermission.

Age Advisory – G

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