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Sarasota Opera continues its Verdi Cycle with rare work

Giovanna d’Arco (Joan of Arc) set to open March 6

February 16, 2010

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

The final opera in Sarasota Opera’s Winter Festival, Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco (Joan of Arc), will open Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. The 26th work in Sarasota Opera’s acclaimed Verdi Cycle, it also is part of the Masterworks Revival Series. First performed in Milan in 1845, Verdi’s version of the story of Joan of Arc wasn’t brought to the U.S. until 1966, when a concert version was performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The first fully staged performance of the opera was given by the New York Grand Opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1976.
In Sarasota, this rarely performed opera will be led by renowned Verdi conductor Victor DeRenzi, artistic director of Sarasota Opera. There will be six performances of the work between March 6 and 20. Sarasota Opera’s production will feature Cristina Castaldi, who is making her Sarasota debut as Giovanna. Ms. Castaldi most recently sang the role of Donna Elvira in Connecticut Grand Opera’s production of Don Giovanni, Mimi in La bohème at the Natchez Opera Festival, National Lyric Touring Company, Violetta in La traviata and Magda in La rondine at Dicapo Opera Theatre, New York. Rafael Dávila, a Sarasota opera favorite, returns to sing the role of Carlo VII. Mr. Dávila was lauded by the critics for his role as Cavaradossi in Sarasota Opera’s production of Tosca last season. Other Sarasota roles include The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Foresto in Attila, Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci, and the title role in Werther. And Marco Nisticò, another Sarasota favorite, will play the role of Giacomo. Mr. Nisticò received praise for his portrayal of Rodrigue in Sarasota’s production of Don Carlos and as Giorgio Germont in Sarasota’s fall production of La traviata. He is an internationally recognized artist and received accolades from The New York Times for his recent portrayal of Buonafede in Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of Il Mondo della luna. He is currently on the roster of The Metropolitan Opera.
Martha Collins, who is also stage director for the Apprentice Artists this season, will direct. Ms. Collins’ other Sarasota credits include L’elisir d’amore, La traviata, I due Foscari, Attila, and I masnadieri as well as Sarasota Youth Opera productions of the Black Spider, The Hobbit, and The Second Hurricane. Sets were designed by Jeffrey W. Dean and costumes by resident designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan.
Other operas being performed in repertory during the Festival, which runs through March 21, are Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci by Mascagni and Leoncavallo respectively, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
Tickets for all performances 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 daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and through the first intermission on performance evenings in the Lobby Box Office.