The Cordelia Lee Beattie Foundation has awarded $19,750 in support of Sarasota Opera’s Building on the Vision campaign to restore the historic 1926 theater to its original glory, while creating a venue for opera for the 21st century.
This grant will be used for the purchase of equipment and materials to light the downstage portion of the Opera House mainstage, which is the area in front of the curtain commonly referred to as the apron. Illuminating this portion of the stage enables the Opera’s professional designers and directors to create mood-enhancing lighting effects for its productions. At the same time the ability to light the area in front of the curtain will benefit other cultural arts organizations that rent the theater for performances.
Sarasota Opera’s overall Building on the Vision campaign goal is to raise a total of $60 million, which includes $20 million for the renovation, beautification, and historic preservation of the 80-year-old theater; $10 million for endowment; and an additional $30 million in Legacy Gifts. Besides the larger orchestra pit, other improvements include upgrading the lighting and backstage rigging systems, expanding public areas and amenities for patrons, and increasing access for people with disabilities.
Sarasota Opera is grateful to the Cordelia Lee Beattie Foundation for awarding this generous grant.
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 undergoing 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 will be restored, seating will be replaced, the orchestra pit enlarged to allow for an expansion of the repertoire. Backstage systems will be updated and public areas and amenities will be expanded and enhanced. The project is in its final stages and the 2008 Opera Festival will open 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 for the 2008 Opera Festival as well as single tickets are now on sale.