Sarasota Youth Opera Enrolls 100 Singers

Sarasota Opera is happy to announce that 100 young people are enrolled in Sarasota Youth Opera for the Spring Session...

January 31, 2008

Contact: Richard Russell, Director of Marketing
(941) 366-8450 x 245

Patricia Horwell, Communications Officer
(941) 366-8450 x 332

Sarasota Opera is happy to announce that 100 young people are enrolled in Sarasota Youth Opera for the Spring Session, which is more than a 75-percent increase over last term.  Singers are currently learning the music for Canadian composer Dean Burry’s The Hobbit, which will have its U.S. premiere at Sarasota Opera House on May 9 and 10. Auditions for 25 solo parts were held recently and 52 Youth Opera members tried out for those roles. The Hobbit has many chorus pieces and all Youth Opera members will sing in the production.

Burry's opera, adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's original novel, was commissioned by the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and had its premiere in Toronto in May 2004. This was followed by an East Coast tour to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Mr. Burry has revised the work specifically for Sarasota Youth Opera.

Lance Inouye, Sarasota Youth Opera Music Director, will conduct. Stage director for the production is Martha Collins, who most recently directed Verdi's Attila for Sarasota Opera and in 2006 directed Aaron Copland's The Second Hurricane for Sarasota Youth Opera. Jeffrey W. Dean is designing the sets.
Tickets for The Hobbit are on sale now at Sarasota Opera Box Office, by phone at (941) 366-8450, ext. 1, or online at

About Sarasota Youth Opera

A vital part of the mission of Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Youth Opera provides a unique experience for young people in southwestern Florida. Established in 1984, it was one of the first programs of its kind in America. Members of the program participate in all aspects of opera production.

During the fall term, members form the Youth Opera Choruses, which perform throughout the community in formal concerts, as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and retirement centers. During the Winter Opera Festival many of them are selected to perform as the children's chorus and as supernumeraries in the main stage operas. After the festival ends, the focus shifts to the fully staged Youth Opera production, featuring a work expressly written for young people to perform. In 2004 the Sarasota Opera commissioned the world premiere of The Languages of Birds and this season produces Aaron Copland's The Second Hurricane, demonstrating Sarasota Opera's commitment to the best available musical and theatrical experiences for the Youth Opera and its audiences.

Because of the renovation of the Sarasota Opera House there was no 2007 spring production. Instead the Sarasota Youth Opera will shortly be leaving to participate in an international choral festival in Tuscany, Italy.

The Sarasota Youth Opera Program is generously underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts, Florida Arts Council, Woman's Exchange, the Appleby Foundation, HRH, the Franklin G. Berlin Foundation, Designing Women Boutique, and Publix Super Markets Charities.

About Sarasota Opera

Based in Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is in now in its 49th season. In 1958 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 is now in the final stages of 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. Construction is near completion, in preparation for March opening to the 2008 Opera Festival. Sarasota Opera's 2008 Winter Opera Festival will open on March 1, 2008 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