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Opera Orlando Presents A Piano Workshop Of THE SECRET RIVER

The Secret River follows the journey of a girl named Calpurnia in Central Florida during the Great Depression.

Opera Orlando Presents A Piano Workshop Of THE SECRET RIVER

Last season, Opera Orlando announced the development of its first commissioned opera, The Secret River, based on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' book of the same name.

The Company will share the first public sing-through of the opera on Saturday, April 24, at 2 p.m. at Mead Botanical Gardens. Admission is free, but given that seating is limited, RSVPs are required and can be made by emailing

"The Secret River is truly an opera for all audiences," shares Opera Orlando's executive director Gabriel Preisser. "The piano workshop is a preview for the world premiere planned for December of 2021, but more importantly, it will give the community a chance to be a part of the creation of this moving and increasingly relevant work."

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. It follows the journey of Calpurnia, a young, intelligent girl with a robust imagination. Calpurnia learns from her mother, Cassandra, and father, Augustus, that her family and community have fallen on hard times. She takes it on herself to help them, overcome her fears, and trust her imagination along the way.

Opera Orlando has been fortunate to receive support from several foundations and institutions to support this new work. The commissioning of Stella Sung received funding from OPERA America's Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The Opera Orlando Youth Company, which will be featured in The Secret River, has received funding from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts has approved a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support the world premiere production, as well as an in-school touring production of the work. "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Opera Orlando," said arts endowment acting chairman Ann Eilers. "Opera Orlando is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year."

Furthermore, just this last week, the Pabst-Steinmetz Foundation awarded Opera Orlando a grant for The Secret River along with five other groups. "This year's grant recipients have such range in the way they will impact the community," states Foundation co-founder Chuck Steinmetz. "From the creation of an opera to providing arts and craft supplies for foster children, and gauging the healing power of the Arts for veterans and minority communities, Margie and I are so excited to see these programs blossom." Foundation co-founder Margery Pabst-Steinmetz adds, "if we have learned anything from 2020, it's how critical local organizations and collaboration are to the health of a community. "The six organizations receiving funding for 2021 are all embarking on new programming that shows potential for not only great impact but the potential for the work to be replicated and expanded within and beyond our community."

Reserve your seat for the piano workshop of The Secret River by emailing, and stay up to date with Opera Orlando's season at

Get your tickets for the Opera on the MainStage productions at Dr. Phillips Center's Bill & Mary Darden Box Office (445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando) online at, or by calling (407) 839-0119, ext. 0. Individual tickets for Carmen are currently available. "Like" or "follow" Opera Orlando's Facebook page for event schedules and updates, and subscribe to Opera Orlando's YouTube channel for all online content.

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