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Sarasota Opera House & Box Office

61 N. Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
Box Office:  (941) 328-1300

Sarasota Opera Administrative Office

1345 Main St.
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 366-8450


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Our Theater

Sarasota Opera owns and performs in the historic Sarasota Opera House. The building has recently undergone a $20-million rehabilitation to restore the beauty of the 1920's theater, while creating an up-to-date opera house for the 21st century.

Read more about the Sarasota Opera House 

Richard Russell

Russell, Richard

Richard Russell returned to Sarasota Opera as its Executive Director in November 2012, after two years as General Director of Opera New Jersey. He had previously served as Sarasota Opera’s Director of Marketing from 2005-10 and as a singer, was an Apprentice, Studio, and Principal Artist with the company from 1989-1993.

Mr. Russell oversees the administrative side of the $8M company which produces five main stage opera productions, runs the industry leading Sarasota Youth Opera, and owns and operates the historic Sarasota Opera House. During his tenure Sarasota Opera completed its world-renowned Verdi Cycle, an initiative to produce all of Giuseppe Verdi’s works, which drew international recognition. The company has strengthened financially over this period, including increasing its endowment by 70% to just over $8M. In order to increase activity during the summer, he found funding to add the capability to screen High-Definition films at the Sarasota Opera House and launched HD at the Opera House, a series of performing arts films that runs from May to October.

He also oversaw the building and opening of the Steinwachs Artist Residences for Sarasota Opera, a 30-unit apartment complex which houses up to 70 artists during the opera season and is used by other local non-profits at other times.

Having developed a passion for opera at a young age, Mr. Russell pursued professional studies in voice and conducting. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting from Indiana University School of Music, where his teachers and mentors included Reri Grist, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, and Virginia Zeani, conductors Bryan Balkwill, Thomas Baldner, and Robert Porco.
Mr. Russell had an active career as a professional tenor. Among the roles he performed were Hoffman in The Tales of Hoffman, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Rodolfo in La bohème, Riccardo in Un ballo in Maschera, and the title role in Andrea Chenier. As a concert artist he sang the world premiere Lewis Rosengarten’s Three Poems by Arnaut Daniel for Tenor and Orchestra with the Alabama Symphony.

In 1998, Mr. Russell decided to suspend his singing career to accept a position with Citicorp’s Emerging Markets Sales & Trading business and within a short period he was a Vice-President and Global Webmaster for the group eCommerce efforts across Citigroup’s over 30 emerging markets countries in Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa.

In 2005 he began the next phase of his professional life when he accepted the position of Director of Marketing at Sarasota Opera. Mr. Russell oversaw earned revenue of approximately $3 million, managed public relations and marketing for a capital campaign to renovate the Sarasota Opera House, oversaw the replacement of the company’s database system with the industry leading Tessitura product, dramatically expanded the company’s internet presence, and participated in every aspect of the company including artistic planning and donor cultivation.

In 2010 Mr. Russell was named the second General Director of Princeton-based Opera New Jersey. Responsible for the artistic and administrative sides of the company, he mounted two summer seasons and two winter productions, included critically-acclaimed productions of Menotti’s The Consul (broadcast WWFM-The Classical Network), Puccini’s Tosca and Verdi’s Il trovatore. He initiated a partnership with American Opera Projects to present workshops of new works in progress including Thomas Pasatieri’s The Family Room starring Catherine Malfitano and Lauren Flanigan.