Sarasota Opera has announced that the recipients of the 2007-2008 Daniel R. Mandelker and Marlene N. Harris Returning Studio Artist Awards are mezzo-soprano, Blythe Gaissert and baritone, Brian B. Carter.
The Studio Artists Program was created in 1989 as a bridge program between Apprentice Artists and Principal Artists to provide in-depth training to singers aiming for professional opera careers. Studio Artists’ time at Sarasota Opera is spent in the community providing outreach concerts and in Master classes developing their skills. Studio Artists are also covers (understudies) for Principal Artists and receive weekly one-on-one coaching and staging for those assigned roles.
Since its beginning during the 2002-2003 Sarasota Opera Festival Season, the Daniel R. Mandelker and Marlene N. Harris Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has provided recognition and financial support to Studio Artists through this award that acknowledges the talent, initiative, overall improvement, and potential of returning Studio Artists.
As a Studio Artist during the 2006-2007 Festival Season, Ms. Gaissert covered the role of Suzuki in Sarasota Opera’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. She returns this season to perform the roles of Maddelena in Verdi’s Rigoletto and Suzy in Puccini’s La rondine, and will cover the role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
Mr. Carter also was a Studio Artist during Sarasota Opera’s 2006-2007 Festival Season and covered the roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Ezio in Verdi’s Attila. He comes back to Sarasota Opera as a Studio Artist during the 2007-2008 Winter Festival Season, covering the lead role in Rigoletto as well as the role of Francesco Foscari in Verdi’s I due Foscari.
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.