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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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Follow the daily activities of Sarasota Opera by reading What's New at Sarasota Opera: the Sarasota Opera Blog. This interactive blog is updated on a regular basis.

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, RichardHaving 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. Among the many roles he performed while at Indiana was the world premiere of John Eaton’s The Tempest.
For approximately ten years, 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.
At the same time, as many young singers must, he worked full-time for a number of companies, beginning with the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988. While his employer allowed liberal leaves of absence to take operatic engagements, eventually he was promoted to Publications Financial Manager and ultimately resigned to continue his singing career. In 1993 he accepted a temporary position with Citicorp’s Global Derivatives group, was hired full-time and promoted, and again left to pursue operatic activities.
Reaching a crossroads in 1998, Mr. Russell decided to suspend his singing career to accept a position with Citicorp’s Emerging Markets Research group.  He did this with the intention of gaining more work experience before eventually moving to a career in arts administration. As a result of the Citicorp/Traveler’s Group merger, this group became part of the 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, a growing company that offered a strategic opportunity to transition into opera administration.  The company was about to launch a $60 million capital campaign to renovate their historic theater, build endowment, and expand activities.  Over the following five years, Mr. Russell oversaw earned revenue of approximately $3 million, managed public relations and marketing for the capital campaign and re-opening of the theater, 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. He expanded the company’s summer season to include Asbury Park and Morristown, in addition to Princeton and continued and expanded its partnership with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Richard Russell was born in New York City, grew up in Rockland County and has resided in Brooklyn, NY, Maplewood, NJ, Sarasota, FL, and Princeton, NJ. He is married to Cynthia Bydlinski.