The Sarasota Youth Opera (SYO) is an exciting year-round program that brings the joy of opera and singing to the Sarasota Community. The program began in 1984 with approximately 50 local youth. From simple workshop productions to commissioning series of world premieres, SYO has continued to grow and expand, touching the lives of hundreds of young people each season.
YOUTH OPERA CHORUSES
Beginning at age 8, singers are placed in one of two choruses. Each chorus provides a setting for everyone to participate and progress at their own level as they gain greater skills and experience. selections performed are made up of classical music, which includes opera and choral pieces in different languages. The choruses perform throughout the community in formal concerts and outreach events.
OPERA MAINSTAGE SEASON
Members of the Youth Opera are selected to join Sarasota Opera’s Winter Festival season, appearing in the mainstage childrens chorus, as supernumeraries (extras who perform non-singing roles) and for special roles written by the composer for children's voices. In recent seasons these have included roles in The Magic Flute, la Bohème, Tosca, and Carmen. Singers are involved in the complete production process – from early music and dramatic rehearsals to performing alongside opera professionals.
YOUTH OPERA PRODUCTIONS
Part of Sarasota Opera's commitment to youth opera includes the performing and commissioning of operatic works written specifically for children and young adults. Since 1986 five commissioned world premieres and over 20 additional youth opera productions have been presented. Members take part in the making of each opera complete with professional staging, costumes, lighting, sound, and orchestral accompaniment.
In November 2012, Sarasota Youth Opera presented the world premiere of Little Nemo In Slumberland, with music by Daron Hagan and libretto by J.D. McClatchy based on the comic strips of Winsor McCay. The cast incorporated 106 students from throughout the community, including students from Booker High School, Out Of Door Academy, and Sailor Circus.
Past productions and commissions include:
1986 Space Opera/Rooster Rag/Jack and the Beanstalk
1987 The Frog Prince
1989 Deadline (Commission/World Premiere)
1990 Cornelius Coyote (World Premiere)
1991 Karlsson on the Roof (American Premiere)
1993 Her Lightness (Commission/World Premiere)
1994 Ocean World
1995 African Jigsaw
1998 Eye of Ra (Commission/World Premiere)
1999 The Black Spider
2001 The Second Hurricane
2002 Down in the Valley
2002 The Happy Prince
2003 The Piper of Hamelin
2004 The Language of Birds (Commission/World Premiere)
2005 The Little Sweep
2006 The Second Hurricane
2008 The Hobbit (U.S. Premiere)
2010 The Black Spider
2012 Little Nemo in Slumberland (Commission/World Premiere)
2013 The Little Sweep
2014 The Hobbit
2015 Brundibár (with newly-commissioned Prologue)
2016 The Secret World of Og (U.S. Premiere: upcoming, November 2016)
A three week, hands-on workshop held at the Sarasota Opera every June that immerses young people in all aspects of the operatic art form. Participants study many facets of opera - from music and acting to opera appreciation nd technical production - under the direction of Sarasota Opera's professional and artistic staff..