Opera Orlando Will Perform Site-Specific RUSALKA

Performances will take place March 8-9, 2024.

By: Mar. 04, 2024
Opera Orlando Will Perform Site-Specific RUSALKA
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Opera Orlando goes On the Town in its All for Art season with a site-specific production of Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Art and History Museums of Maitland. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Little Mermaid,” Dvořák’s version is a deeply romantic tragedy of love, sacrifice, and rejection. Taking its cues from the exquisite Mayan-inspired surroundings, this immersive production will transport its audience to the edge of a Florida everglade at the turn of the 20th century — a time when myth and legend still existed. The action of the opera unfolds throughout the property, creating an extremely intimate and magical musical experience.

Performances will take place March 8-9, 2024.

“We are delighted for Opera Orlando to bring Rusalka to life on the historical Maitland Art Center grounds,” stated Art & History Museums of Maitland executive director Danielle Thomas. “The fantasy architecture of the site was heavily influenced by André Smith's background in theater set design, making it the perfect backdrop for such a deeply moving and unique production."

The Art & History Museums (A&H), also known as the Maitland Art Center, is the only National Historic Landmark in Central Florida’s four counties (Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake) and one of only 45 in the state of Florida. The Research Studio (the original name of the A&H’s Maitland Art Center) was founded in 1937 by visionary artist and architect Jules André Smith (1880-1959), with the patronage of Mary Louise Curtis Bok, as a colony that provided a place for artists to live, experiment with new art forms and escape the demands of daily life. The Research Studio was a lively colony that hosted artists of national prominence, including Milton Avery, Ralston Crawford, Doris Lee and many others.

Smith’s legacy continues today through annual residency and studio programs that attract artists from across the nation. The A&H spreads across two campuses that include gardens, diverse collections, ongoing exhibitions, educational programming and two sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places (the Maitland Art Center and the Victorian-era Waterhouse Residence Museum).

After a rigorous nomination and application process, and due in large part to the unique Aztec- and Mayan-influenced architecture, one of the only remaining examples of “Mayan Revival Architecture” in the Southeast, the A&H’s Maitland Art Center became a National Historic Landmark in 2014. 

The A&H’s Maitland Art Center is the repository for a number of significant collections, including the largest and most comprehensive group of artworks created by the Research Studio’s founder, André Smith. However, the most significant collection at the Maitland Art Center is the facility itself. The former Research Studio is covered by carved and cast concrete sculptures, all designed by André Smith. Many of these were actually hand-carved by Smith. These decorations, along with the buildings that make up the historic art colony, were imagined and executed from motifs drawn from the cultures of ancient Mesoamerica, including the Maya and the Aztecs. Mixed with colonial, Christian, and in some cases even Asian iconography, this totally unique complex with its conjoined courtyards, gardens, and art studios may be the versatile Smith’s greatest creation. 

The audience for Rusalka will get to experience all of this artwork up close as they move around the property from one act to the next while enjoying Dvořák’s glorious music. The production runs approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes in three acts with two intermissions. Valet parking, pre- and post-show receptions with appetizers, wine, and desserts are included. Self parking is also available on site.