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Sarasota Opera Celebrates 51st Season with Opening Night Festivities

January 15, 2010

Patricia G. Horwell. Communications Officer
(941) 366-8450, ext. 332

Sarasota Opera will celebrate its 51st season with the most anticipated event of the year, the Opening Night Gala.
The evening begins February 6 at 5 p.m. as the 2010 Winter Festival opens with the double bill of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci by Mascagni and Leoncavallo respectively, performed on the stage of the William E. Schmidt Opera Theater in the historic 1926-era Sarasota Opera House. Directed by Stephanie Sundine, it will feature sets designed by David P. Gordon and costumes by Howard Tsvi Kaplan. Artistic conductor Victor DeRenzi will conduct the orchestra.
Kara Shay Thomson, who received rave reviews here last season for her portrayal of Tosca, will sing the role of Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana. Gustavo López Manzitti, who critics praised for his performance in the title role in the Sarasota Opera production of Don Carlos, returns in the roles of Turridu in Cavalleria rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci.  Longtime Sarasota Opera principal artist Michael Corvino, who has sung Rabbi David in L’Amico Fritz and Rigoletto, among others, will sing the roles of Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana and Tonio in Pagliacci. Making her Sarasota Opera debut is Aundi Marie Moore, who will sing the role of Nedda in Pagliacci. Ms Moore’s past roles include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with L’Opéra de Monte Carlo and Serena in Porgy and Bess with Virginia Opera.
After the curtain comes down, patrons who have tickets to the Gala will adjourn to the grand tent behind the Opera House. The event will be chaired by Suzanne and Hank Foster. Corporate sponsors are PNC Wealth Management and Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen. SRQ Media Group, is the media sponsor.
Catered by Michael’s On East, the evening will begin with cocktails and continue with a three-course gourmet meal. The Cigar City Big Band will provide music for dancing and Elegant Designs, the flowers.
Tickets for the Opening performance of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci are still available and start at $29.  There will an additional nine performances through March 21. Reservations for the Opening Gala Dinner, which do not include the performance, are $200 per person. Call the Box Office at (941) 366-8450, ext. 1, or order online at
Other operas to be performed in repertory during the Festival, which runs through March 21, are Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco. Tickets are available now at the Box Office in the Deane Allyn Pavilion of the Sarasota Opera House, by phone at (941) 366-8450, ext. 1, or online at The box office is open Monday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through January 23 and daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., January 25 through March 21 and through the first intermission on performance evenings in the Lobby Box Office. The Lobby Box Office in the Opera House will also be open during the January 17 Open House.