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Sarasota Opera Announces 2010-11 Season

Company Launches Newest Artistic Initiative: American Classics

February 8, 2010

Richard Russell, Director of Marketing
(941) 366-8450 ext. 245

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

Sarasota, FL – For its 52nd Season in 2010-11 Sarasota Opera announces a five opera season. The season will begin with Rossini’s version of the Cinderella story: La Cenerentola, which opens October 29. The 2011 Winter Opera Festival returns February 4 with four works including two Sarasota Opera premieres. The festival will open with a revival of the highly successful 2006 production of Puccini’s beloved La bohème. Mozart’s Don Giovanni will be the second work of the season. The company’s acclaimed Verdi Cycle will continue with a mounting of I lombardi, one of the composer’s earliest successes. Finally, Sarasota Opera will launch a new initiative, American Classics, with a production of Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera The Crucible.  The Winter Opera Festival will conclude on March 20 with The Verdi Concert.

American Classics: The Crucible

In the past Sarasota Opera has been acclaimed for its performances of repertoire ranging from Mozart to Puccini. The new American Classics initiative marks a departure for the company. In deciding to start this new series Maestro DeRenzi commented that “many people have asked what we will do once the Verdi Cycle is complete. We remain committed to finishing the Cycle and having Verdi’s works remain a part of our repertoire. Looking forward, we think this is a good time for us to move ahead in other directions. Bringing some of the recognized classics of American opera to Sarasota is a natural next step. The works we are looking at have dramatic as well as musical value and deal with the same human issues that the core romantic repertoire does.” Works that are planned for the series in future seasons include Samuel Barber’s Vanessa and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. “These are works that have had significant success and have moved audiences throughout the country,” according to Maestro DeRenzi.  ”I look forward to performing for our audience.”

Executive Director Susan T. Danis added that, “this is a whole new direction for our company which has inspired our staff and we all look forward to sharing the beauty of this music with our audience.  Our company continues to reinvent itself and plan for the future changes in taste and audience.  What an exciting time in the history of our company!”

Based on Arthur Miller’s Tony award winning play of the same name The Crucible had its premiere at New York City Opera in 1961. Robert Ward’s score captures the tension of this dramatic work and won him the Pulitzer Prize in music that year. It has received performances throughout the U.S. and in Europe. This will be the first time that Sarasota Opera has performed the work.  The Crucible will open March 5 and have six performances through March 19.

Fall Opera Season

After only two seasons, Sarasota Opera’s fall opera season has become a staple of the company’s activities. In 2009 six performances of La traviata sold t nearly 100% of capacity. In 2010 the company will present Rossini’s delightful comedy La Cenerentola (Cinderella). Apart from The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola is the composer’s most performed work.  This will be the opera’s premiere at the Sarasota Opera House, although the company presented performances of the opera in the early 1960s at the Historic Asolo Theater.  Maestro DeRenzi will again conduct the Sarasota Orchestra in this opera, renewing a successful ongoing local collaboration.

La Cenerentola will open on October 29 and run for six performances through November 10.

2011 Winter Opera Festival

The 2011 Winter Opera Festival will open on February 5 with Puccini favorite La bohème. The 2006 production, being revived next season, was so successful that an additional performance was added to accommodate demand. Victor DeRenzi will again conduct and the production will be directed by Stephanie Sundine.  The sets are by David P. Gordon.  La bohème will have eleven performances through March 20.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni returns as the second opera of the festival. Considered one of the classics of the genre, the opera was last seen in Sarasota in 2005.  Cast and production team will be announced at a later date. There will be nine performances of Don Giovanni which opens February 12 and runs through March 18.

The Verdi Cycle returns with his early drama I lombardi. The opera centers around family tensions, jealousies, and patricide against a backdrop of the First Crusade. It will be the 27th opera in Sarasota Opera’s Verdi Cycle and contains combination of exciting choruses, thrilling ensembles, and beautiful arias that characterized the composers’s early output. This is a Sarasota Opera premiere and will be conducted by Maestro DeRenzi, directed by Martha Collins, with sets designed by Jeffrey W. Dean. I lombardi will have seven performances through March 19.

The Crucible will be the final opera in the Winter Opera Festival, opening March 5 with six performances through March 19.

The Verdi Concert

The season will conclude with The Verdi Concert on March 20 at 8 p.m. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, the concert will include vocal solos, ensembles, choruses  and instrumental selections by Giuseppe Verdi and his contemporaries. Verdi was a seminal figure in the struggle for Italian independence and unification and for a brief period served in the Italian senate. The Verdi Concert, which is part of the Verdi Cycle, will include works that have not been performed at Sarasota Opera.

Opera Lover’s Weekends

Sarasota Opera’s Opera Lover’s weekends will expand from two in 2010 to three in 2011. These weekends, popular with opera tourists, allow audience members to see all four of the Winter Festival Operas within three days. The final Opera Lovers Weekend will also include the Verdi Concert. The Opera Lovers Weekends for 2011 will be March 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20.  

Sarasota Opera ticket prices have not increased since 2008-09 and will not go up in 2010-11. However, the number of sections in the theater will be reduced to make it easier for ticket buyers. This will result in an additional row of seats at the lowest price: $19. Four opera Winter Festival subscription will be on sale beginning March 1 and will start at $75.  Five opera subscriptions (the Winter Festival and the Fall production of La Cenerentola) will start at just $90.

Subscriptions are will go on sale on March 1 by calling (941) 366-8450, ext. 1 or visiting the Sarasota Opera Box Office. Single tickets for the Fall season will go on sale on Sept. 1  Winter Festival tickets will be available beginning October 1.

Season Details

2009 Fall Opera Season

La Cenerentola
Opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini.  Libretto by Jacopo Feretti
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Performances (6): October 29, 31m, November 2, 4, 7m, 10
Evening performances at 8 p.m., matinees at 1:30 p.m.

2010 Winter Opera Festival

La bohème
Opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa after Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Performances (11): February 5, 8, 13m, 16, 19, 24, 27m, 6, 11, 15, 19
Evening performances (except opening night February 5) at 8 p.m.
Opening Night February 5 at 5 p.m.
Matinees at 1:30 p.m.

Don Giovanni
Drama giocoso in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
Performances (9): February 12, 15, 17, 20m, 23, 25, March 4, 12m, 18
Evening performances at 7:30 p.m., matinees at 1:30 p.m.

I Lombardi
Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Temistocle Solera
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Verdi Cycle
Sarasota Opera Premiere
Performances (7): February 26, March 1, 3, 6m, 9, 12, 20m
Evening performances at 8 p.m., matinees at 1:30 p.m.

The Crucible
Opera in four acts by Robert Ward. Libretto by Bernard Stambler after the play of the same name by Arthur Miller.
Sung in English with English supertitles
American Classics
Sarasota Opera Premiere
March 5, 8, 10, 13m, 16, 19m

The Verdi Concert
Verdi Cycle
March 20 at 8 p.m.

About Sarasota Opera

Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera just celebrated its 50th Season in 2008-09. In 1960 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 and first performing in it in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House. The theater has just undergone a $20-million renovation and rehabilitation enhancing audience amenities, while updating the technical facilities including increasing the size of the orchestra pit. The theater, which reopened in March 2008 has been called “one of Americas finest venues for opera” by Musical America.

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.

Sarasota Opera is currently in its 51st season. Building on the success of its first fall production in 2008, the company gave six sold-out performances of Verdi’s La traviata October 30 through November 11. The Winter Opera Festival will return on February 6 with the double bill of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. The season will also include Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Verdi’s rarely heard Giovanna d’Arco (Joan of Arc) will be given as part of the company’s Verdi Cycle, an effort designed to produce all of the composer’s works. Giovanna d’Arco will be the 26th Verdi opera given by the company.

Tickets for all Sarasota Opera performances are on now sale at the box office at (941) 366-8450, ext. 1, in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236. or at www.sarasotaopera.org.