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Casting Complete for Fall Opera

July 1, 2010

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

Sarasota Opera has announced casting for its Fall Opera production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola (La Chen-eh-ren-to-la) or Cinderella, which will run from October 29 – November 10. This comic masterpiece was last presented by Sarasota Opera in 1969 when it was staged at the Historic Asolo Theater. These are the opera’s first performances at the Sarasota Opera House.
Mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson sings the role of Angelina (Cinderella).  A favorite at Sarasota Opera for her performances as Hansel in last season’s Hansel and Gretel and as Beppe in the 2009 production of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz. In this role she leaves behind the trousers she wore portraying these male characters and dons a dress for her first female character with the company. Other recent performances were Mozart’s Coronation Mass at Carnegie Hall and the same composer’s Requiem at Kennedy Center. She has also sung in Gordon’s contemporary opera Acquanetta at the New York City Opera VOX series and Musto’s The Inspector at Wolf Trap. This summer she reprises the role of Hansel for PORT Opera in Maine. Future engagements include performances with Boston Lyric and the National Arts Center orchestra in Ottawa, Canada.
Hak Soo Kim, a tenor, makes his Sarasota Opera debut in the role of Prince Ramiro. He recently completed his second year residence as a Domingo-Thornton Young Artist at Los Angeles Opera. Other companies with which he has performed are Opera Colorado and Santa Fe Opera, as well as appearances with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Verdi Chorus (California), and the Monmouth Civic Chorus (New Jersey). Mr. Kim’s roles include creations by Rossini, Donizetti, and Verdi: Conte Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Narciso in Il turcio in Italia, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Alfredo in La traviata, and Fenton in Falstaff.
Baritone Sean Anderson returns for the role of Dandini, the valet who disguises himself as his master, Prince Ramiro. Last season he received wide audience and critical acclaim for his portrayal of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. Among the accolades he received were from the Sarasota Herald Tribune, “…Papageno, brilliantly hammed up by baritone Sean Anderson.” Mr. Anderson has previously performed at Sarasota Opera in  Cosi fan tutte and Die Fledermaus. Recently credits for Sean are Marcello in La bohème with Indianapolis Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci at Opera Columbus, and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with both Chautauqua and Indianapolis Opera. In addition, he has appeared at Opera New Jersey and Intermountain Opera, as well as singing outreach performances for Santa Fe Opera and Make Music New York.
Italian native Stefano de Peppo, bass-baritone, made his Sarasota Opera debut in the fall 2008 production of Il barbiere di Siviglia as the pompous Doctor Bartolo. In La Cenerentola, Stefano sings the role of Don Magnifico, the cash-starved stepfather of Angelina. His recent credits include Leporello in Don Giovanni at Finnish National Opera, the title role of Don Giovanni with Mozart Festival Opera, and the title role in Don Pasquale at both Opera North Carolina and Miami Lyric Opera. Among the countries in which Stefano has performed are Italy, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Israel, Great Britain, Canada, and the Czech Republic.
Benjamin Gelfand, bass-baritone, makes his debut as a Sarasota Opera Principal Artist singing the role of wise tutor Alidoro. He has previously been an Apprentice Artist in 2006 and a Studio Artist in 2008, 2009, and 2010. A recipient of Sarasota Opera Guild's Leo M. Rogers Award and Bradenton Opera Guild's Helen Jepson Dellera Fellowship Award for a deserving Studio Artist, Ben last season performed the roles of Doctor Grenvil in La traviata and Talbot in Giovanna d'Arco. Since the conclusion of the 2010 season, he has performed in concert with the Evelyn Lear/Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers Program at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. In addition, he won third place at the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition in the Wagner division and performed at its winners concert at Carnegie Hall.
Directing is Stephanie Sundine, who last season directed Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci and the Apprentice Artists. In the past she has also directed Tosca, Rigoletto, and Madama Butterfly for Sarasota Opera.
Sarasota Opera Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi will conduct the Sarasota Orchestra. This is the third year the two organizations have collaborated on a fall Sarasota Opera production.
Tickets for La Cenerentola are now available as part of a five-opera subscription package. Single tickets will go on sale in September.