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Opera Orlando Announces 2021-22 Season


Maestro Stephanie Rhodes Russell will make her Opera Orlando debut conducting La Traviata.

Opera Orlando Announces 2021-22 Season

Opera Orlando's 2021-22 season celebrates one of opera's greats: Giuseppe Verdi. The Company kicks off its season with his beloved classic, La Traviata, on the MainStage at Dr. Phillips Center. Stephanie Rhodes Russell, making her Opera Orlando debut, conducts musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, with artistic director Grant Preisser directing this original, updated production that takes inspiration from the life and experiences of Molly Bloom and is set in the glitz and grit of an underworld New York.

Internationally renowned soprano Cecilia Violetta López returns to Opera Orlando as Violetta, whose plight in the original story is a perfect parallel to that of Bloom, who at 26 years old ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game, became an FBI target, and lost everything. Both Violetta and Bloom owned their life choices and navigated their questionable circumstances with a moral integrity that makes the tragic ending of the opera all the more heartbreaking. The production will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. The stellar cast will also feature tenor Victor Ryan Robertson, making his Opera Orlando debut as Alfredo, members of the Opera Orlando Chorus, and dancers from Orlando Ballet.

La Traviata at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Walt Disney Theater

Friday | October 29, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday | October 3, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Then, Opera Orlando premieres its first commissioned new work on the MainStage: The Secret

River, an opera for all audiences. Based on the young-adult book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Secret River is a one-act chamber opera set in Central Florida during the Great Depression. 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 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 in everyone. Opera Orlando favorite Kyaunnee Richardson, soprano, returns to sing the role of Calpurnia, with baritone Benjamin Taylor and soprano NaGuanda Nobles singing the role of her Father and Mother, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Emily Pulley and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Kimberly Martin making their Opera Orlando debuts as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Mother Albirtha, respectively. This imaginative, heartfelt, and inspiring production features a chamber orchestra of musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Opera Orlando Youth Company under the baton of Everett McCorvey, founder and music director of the American Spiritual Ensemble. Dennis Whitehead Darling will direct the piece, with puppetry created and performed by MicheLee Puppets.

The Secret River at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater

Friday | December 17, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday | December 18, 2021 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday | December 19, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Opera Orlando closes its 2021-22 MainStage season with Verdi's first major success, Rigoletto. This riveting melodrama is a compelling depiction of the callousness of the ruling class at the expense of those beneath them, featuring the Opera Orlando debuts of Korean baritone SeungHyeon Baek in the title role and the stunning soprano Jessica E. Jones as Gilda, Rigoletto's secret daughter. This original and thrilling production is led by Metropolitan Opera conductor Gregory Buchalter and directed by international stage director Katheleen Belcher, also making their Opera Orlando debuts. Audiences are in for an intense evening of complex characters, an action-packed plot, and unforgettable music, including opera's most famous quartet and one of opera's greatest arias, "La donna è mobile." This timely and all too real portrait of a divided court moves seamlessly between the sparkling social scene of the glitterati and the squalor of those who struggle under its corrupt regime. The production will be sung in Italian with English supertitles, featuring the return of Metropolitan Opera tenor Won Whi Choi as the Duke of Mantua, musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, the Opera Orlando Chorus, and dancers from Orlando Ballet.

Rigoletto at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Steinmetz Hall

Friday | April 22, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday | April 24, 2022 at 2 p.m.

In addition to its exciting Opera on the MainStage series, Opera Orlando has a jam-packed schedule for its year long Verdi celebration. The Opera's Summer Concert Series on August 15, 22, and 29 at the University Club of Winter Park has its signature line-up of artists featured in the coming season including soprano Cecilia Violetta López accompanied by Nathaniel Salazar, tenor Victor Ryan Robinson accompanied by Ammon Perry Bratt, and soprano Kirsten Chambers accompanied by husband and conductor Keith Chambers. This will be followed by the Company's annual gala, Viva L'Opera!, on September 11 at The Alfond Inn. Also, the Company will once again be "On the Town" with a site-specific production of Verdi's comedic King for a Day presented at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando on March 4 and 6, 2022, and Lizbeth, a contemporary work by composer Thomas Albert and librettist Lindé Hayen Herman, exploring the life of Lizzie Borden, May 20 and 22, 2022, aligned with the Orlando International Fringe Festival at Harriett's Orlando Ballet Centre.

Keeping safety as its first priority in the presentation of its 2021-22 season, Opera Orlando continues to monitor the development of COVID-19 and the vaccination plans relating to the virus. The Company will continue its consultation with its health partners and venues to implement an appropriate and comprehensive plan, to continue to protect and reduce the risk of infection for audience members, cast and production teams, staff, and volunteers.

Stay up to date with Opera Orlando's upcoming season and planning online at

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