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Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz continues Sarasota Opera’s Masterwork Revival Series

February 16, 2009

Richard Russell, Director of Marketing
(941) 366-8450 x 245
Patricia Horwell, Communications Officer
(941) 366-8450 x 332

 Sarasota Opera continues its initiative to perform neglected works by mounting a new production of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz. The production opens on February 21, 2009 at the Sarasota Opera House and will have seven performances through March 21.
L’amico Fritz was Mascagni’s second opera following the world-wide success of the verismo shocker Cavalleria rusticana. Set in a Jewish community in Alsace, Fritz Kobus is a generous bachelor landowner who has bet his friend Rabbi David that he will never marry. David then sets out to pair Fritz with one of his tenants Suzel. Despite his best efforts to resist, Fritz falls in love with Suzel.
The charming romantic score is quite a change from Mascagni’s previous work Cavalleria rusticana. The lush music contains many delights including the often excerpted “Cherry Duet.”
Sarasota Opera’s new production stars Benjamin Warschawski as Fritz. Mr. Warschawski returns to Sarasota where he has sung in Lucia di Lammermoor, Halka, and I due Foscari. He is also sought after as a cantor. Suzel will be sung by Catherine Cangiano. Ms. Cangiano was recently heard at San Francisco Opera and has also appeared at the Seattle Opera and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Baritone Michael Corvino who was last heard in the title role of Rigoletto at Sarasota Opera, will be Rabbi David and mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson will make her Sarasota Opera debut as the gypsy Beppe.
David Neely Director of Orchestral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Kansas will return to Sarasota to conduct. Michael Unger will direct, with sets designed by Michael Schweikardt, lightning by Ken Yunker, and costumes by Howard Tsvi Kaplan.
L’amico Fritz opens on February 21 and will also be performed on February 24, 26, March 1 (matinee), 8 (matinee), 11, 14, and 21. Tickets start at $25 and are available from the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 366-8450, ext. 1 or online at