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“The Secret River,” a new chamber opera set in rural Florida, bows at Opera Orlando
December 17, 2021 - December 19, 2021
The Secret River, a chamber opera by Stella Sung (music) and Mark Campbell (libretto), is given its premiere by Opera Orlando, which commissioned the work. Adapted from a young adult novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and set in the Central Florida countryside during the Depression, the opera features soprano Kyaunnee Richardson as Calpurnia, the little girl who discovers the river; mezzo-soprano Kimberly Milton as Mother Albirtha; and soprano Emily Pulley as Rawlings, whose rural Cross Creek home was not far from Orlando.
Everett McCorvey conducts an ensemble from the Orlando Philharmonic. There are four performances Dec. 17-19 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
Rawlings, who died in 1953, lived in rural Florida and often featured the area in her writing, is best know for her work, The Yearling, about a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was later made into a movie.
Rawlings wrote long before the concept of young adult fiction, but her work is now commonly included in teen-reading lists. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings