Susan T. Danis, Executive Director of Sarasota Opera, will be honored by Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County at its annual awards luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota on April 16, 2008. She will be presented with the “She Knows Where She’s Going Award,” which honors outstanding women for contributions to their communities and their superlative personal and professional achievements.
According to Girls Inc. spokesperson Georgann Nugent, Ms. Danis is being recognized “as an outstanding role model,” for spearheading the $60-million capital campaign, part of which financed the $20-million renovation of the historic Sarasota Opera House, as well as her other achievements in Sarasota, including renovation of the 16-apartment artists housing complex owned by the opera company, commissioning new works for Sarasota Opera, and increasing the operating budget of the company during her tenure from $3.2 million to more than $8 million annually. In addition to being Executive Director of Sarasota Opera, Ms. Danis is also Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of OPERA America; a Board Member of the Sarasota Music Archive; a member of the Sarasota Downtown Partnership Roundtable and the Community Advisory Board of the Junior League of Sarasota; and a past board member of the Sarasota County Arts Council and the New Gate School of Sarasota. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. She has been Sarasota Opera’s Executive Director since 1999.
Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County is dedicated to “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold” and fulfills its mission of empowering girls age six and up to be self-confident, responsible and well-rounded individuals by delivering research-based, age-appropriate, after-school and summer educational and sports programs.
About the Sarasota Opera
Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is in now in its 49th season. In 1960 the company began presenting chamber-sized repertoire in the historic 320 seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater in downtown Sarasota in 1979. Renovations began in 1982 and the 1,033 seat theater, now on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House. Since 1983 the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi. Since then the company has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle producing the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its OPERA-tion performances for local schools and the unique Sarasota Youth Opera program.
The Sarasota Opera House has just completed a multi-million dollar renovation and restoration. The project is designed to restore the historic 1926 theater to its original glory, while creating a venue for opera for the 21st century. Decorative details have been restored, seating has been replaced, and the orchestra pit enlarged to allow for an expansion of the repertoire. Backstage systems have been updated and public areas and amenities expanded and enhanced. The 2008 Opera Festival opened March 1 with Verdi's Rigoletto. The season, which will run through April 13, will also include Puccini's La rondine, Verdi's rarely-heard I due Foscari (The Two Foscari) and conclude with Mozart's Così fan tutte. Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2008 Opera Festival are now on sale at the box office at (941) 366-8450, ext. 1, 1-888-OPERA-12, or in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236. Tickets can also be purchased on line at www.sarasotaopera.org.
Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.