Opera Orlando Receives Major Grant for ‘The Secret River’

By Logan Martell

Opera Orlando will receive a $10k Grants for Arts Projects award to support the company’s world premiere production of “The Secret River.”

Composed by Stella Sung and with a libretto by Mark Campbell, this new work is the first to be commissioned by a female composer, and is meant to build a foundation for Opera Orlando creating future works.

Based on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ book of the same name, “The Secret River” deals with themes of economic struggle and the importance of community, set within Central Florida during the Depression-era. Conducted by Everett McCorvey, the cast includes Kyaunnee Richardson as Calpurnia, Kimberly Milton as Mother Albirtha, Gregg Baker as Augustus, NaGuanda Nobles as Cassandra, and Emily Pulley as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Opera Orlando,” said arts endowment acting chairman Ann Eilers in a press release. “Opera Orlando is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.”

“The Secret River” is set to premiere in December of 2021 at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando. From April 2021 to June 2022, Opera Orlando will also embark on a number of public school and community outreach events centered around this new work.