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Sarasota Opera to celebrate its American Classics initiative

December 14, 2010

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

This year Sarasota Opera adds a brand new initiative to its repertoire, the American Classics series, which will bring some of America’s best-known operas to Sarasota. To kick off the series and in celebration of the work’s 50th anniversary, the company will present Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera The Crucible, based on Arthur Miller’s Tony Award winning play.
Since American opera is new to many Sarasota patrons, the company has partnered with other local arts organizations to present the following free educational programs:
• Showing of the film The Crucible
Partner — Sarasota Film Society
Saturday, January 8 at 10 a.m. — Burns Court Cinemas
Saturday. January 15 at 10 a.m. — Lakewood Ranch Cinemas
The Crucible is a 1996 film, written by Arthur Miller and based on his play of the same name. It was directed by Nicholas Hytner and stars Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor, Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams, Paul Scofield as Judge Thomas Danforth, and Joan Allen as Elizabeth Proctor. Much of the filming took place on Choate Island in Essex, Massachusetts. Admission is free.
• Spoken and Sung
Partner — The Asolo Conservatory
Monday, January 24 at 4 p.m. — Sarasota Opera House
Third-year students at the Asolo Conservatory and the Studio Artists of Sarasota Opera will present a program of highlights from The Crucible. First, the actors will present monologues and scenes. Following each scene, the Studio Artists will sing the arias and ensembles. This program also will include a discussion comparing and contrasting the two performances. Admission is free, but space is limited.
• Conversation with the Composer
Saturday, March 5 at 1 p.m. — William E. Schmidt Theater of the Sarasota Opera House
Composer Robert Ward will be at Sarasota Opera for the opening night performance. Sarasota Opera Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi will interview the 93-year-old Ward and give the audience a unique opportunity to meet a living composer. Admission is free.
• Miller and McCarthyism
Sunday, April 17 at 3 p.m. — Sarasota Opera House
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to bring attention to McCarthyism and the impact it was having on both his colleagues and friends. Working with The Film Festival, we will assemble a panel of esteemed speakers (including Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker magazine and The New York Times) to discuss McCarthyism, Miller, and the experiences that many in Hollywood endured. Buy a ticket to The Crucible and get a free admission ticket for this discussion.
These educational programs are made possible through the generosity of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice.
The opera, The Crucible, weaves a tale of lust, pride, revenge, and power set against the backdrop of the 1692 Salem witch trials. Commissioned by New York City opera in 1961, the opera was an immediate success with both audience and critics. Sarasota Opera celebrates the 50th anniversary of its premiere. Dates are: March 5, 8, 10, and 16 at 8 p.m. and March 13 and 19 at 1:30 p.m.