First Look: Hawai‘i Opera Theatre’s “The Secret Garden”

Introduce keiki to a new musical genre through a beloved children’s classic at Blaisdell Concert Hall.



Opera can be intimidating for children (heck, even adults!) with its formal tone, dark plots and foreign language vocals. Lucky for us, Hawai‘i Opera Theatre opens its 2022-2023 season with a family-friendly production that squashes those stereotypes. Cue the nostalgia and bring your keiki to see The Secret Garden, the same traditional story you know and love but set in a tropical Hawai‘i oasis, on Oct. 14 and 16 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.


The Secret Garden Rehersal 1 Photo Credit Hawaii Opera Theatre 1

The Secret Garden Rehearsal, Photo: Hawai‘i Opera Theatre


The Experience

Blurring the lines between opera and musical theatre, this contemporary performance is a great way to introduce a classical art form to your kids with its melodic music and familiar story (sung in English, by the way!). Keiki will love the projections which transport the audience from scene to scene, as well as the troupe of keiki dancers from Ballet Hawai‘i. Bonus: the happy ending will leave your ‘ohana feeling warm and cuddly after your first opera experience. We recommend the show for keiki ages 8-12, but younger ones may enjoy it too.


What You Need to Know

Want a discount and a chance to see the show before opening night? Get tickets for Hawai‘i Opera Theatre’s Opera for Everyone, the final dress rehearsal held on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. This special preview is available to all elementary, high school and college students for only $7 per ticket. Call the box office at (808) 596-7858 to secure your tickets.


Family Day Activities Photo Credit Hawaii Opera Theatre

Family Day Activities, Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Opera Theatre


Our Tips


  1. Go behind the scenes. Discover what goes into an opera production at HOT’s Family Day on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Blaisdell Concert Hall lobby. Try on costumes, learn about props, explore the lightboard, take a walk backstage and listen to a short opera performance. It’s free and open to the public!
  2. (Re-)Read the book. Dust off your childhood copy of The Secret Garden and share it with your children in advance, so they can better grasp the storyline during the performance.
  3. Attend the pre-show lecture. If you didn’t follow tip #2 above, you’ll definitely want to arrive early on show day to hear the story’s synopsis and how the contemporary music was developed for this non-traditional opera. Pre-show lectures happen 30 minutes and 60 minutes before showtime at the Ward Lānai at Blaisdell Concert Hall.
  4. Look for the captions. As the story is told through song, follow along with the helpful supertitles shown above the stage.
  5. Plan potty breaks. The show runs for two hours and 20 minutes, but no fear, there is an intermission allowing you to use the restroom or munch on snacks outside.


Hawai‘i Opera Theatre presents The Secret Garden on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. Tickets range from $30-$135. Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.,, @hawaiioperatheatre