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The Letters

Marian & Orpheus: A Love Story

Sunday, February 13, 2022 |
4:00PM - 5:30PM ET

Marian Anderson and Orpheus King Fisher sitting on a park bench.


Penn Museum


As the first Black woman to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955, groundbreaking contralto Marian Anderson became an iconic figure in the struggle for civil rights. Documenting her 70-year courtship with her husband, noted African-American architect Orpheus “King” Fisher, The Letters is a dramatic reading of their enchanting love letters. The National Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society co-hosts this performance telling one of the great romantic stories of all time.

The Letters features award-winning stage and screen actor Brian Anthony Wilson reading as Orpheus “King” Fisher and soprano Jillian Patricia Pirtle reading as Marian Anderson. Classical love arias (solo vocal performances) will accompany this reading experience. Attendees will also be treated to music from the Marian Anderson Scholar Artist Program.

The ticket price includes same-day Museum admission from 10 am-5 pm to enjoy collections from around the world, as well as The Stories We Wear, a new exhibition that shines a spotlight on a stunning merlot velvet gown worn by Marian Anderson throughout her career. On loan from the National Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society, the gown is one of 250 remarkable objects showcasing 2,500 years of style—making archaeology and anthropology more accessible through fashion.

After the performance in the historic Harrison Auditorium, benefactors* and guests with reception tickets will enjoy a private wine and dessert reception with the artists in the Sphinx Gallery.

*Benefactor proceeds benefit the Marian Anderson Scholar Artist Program and the Penn Museum. Benefactors will be acknowledged on the printed program and in introductory remarks for their generous support.

Concert Only $30 General
$25 member
Concert and reception $50 General
$45 Member
Program Benefactor $100
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