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Thursday, August 6, 2020

UCF professor and composer Stella Sung and Opera Orlando receive $10k grant for opera based on a Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings story

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 11:53 AM

  • Photo by Jacquephoto courtesy
UCF professor Stella Sung and Opera Orlando have been awarded a $10,000 grant from Opera America as a commission to complete an opera based on – in a wonderfully Florida-centric turn – The Secret River, a children's story by author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek, The Yearling).

This grant is part of a $100,000 program on the part of Opera America to promote women composers in the world of opera.

Sung – a multifaceted composer, musician, professor of music theory and composition, former Composer-in-Residence for the Orlando Philharmonic, and Director of UCF's Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment – is already well into composition, with Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist Mark Campbell handling the libretto.

The Secret River, Rawling's only expressly children's book, was posthumously published in 1955. The often fantastical story, also set in Florida, should be prime for a translation to the stage.

This will be Sung's third opera, following The Red Silk Thread: An Epic Tale of Marco Polo (2013) and The Book Collector (2015).

“To have an opera company willing to produce a new opera is already something of a risk with no guarantees,” Sung told UCF Today in July. “I am so honored to have been commissioned by Opera Orlando to write their first commissioned opera.”

As of this writing, the plan is to hold a piano workshop of the finished opera in January 2021.

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