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Sarasota Opening Night is nearly here

There is still time to buy your tickets

January 18, 2011

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

Opera patrons who do not have their tickets for Opening Night on February 5 still have time to get them.
The evening will begin at 4 p.m. as the 2011 Winter Festival opens with Puccini’s beloved opera La bohème, performed on the stage of the William E. Schmidt Opera Theater in the historic 1926 Sarasota Opera House. Directed by Stephanie Sundine, it will feature sets designed by David P. Gordon and costumes by Howard Tsvi Kaplan. Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi will conduct the Sarasota Opera Orchestra.
Soprano Maria D’Amato, who received rave reviews here last season for her portrayal of Pamina in The Magic Flute, and tenor Harold Meers who makes his Sarasota Opera debut, will portray the star-crossed lovers Mimì and Rodolfo. Ms. D’Amato also sang the role of Thibault in the 2009 Winter Festival production of Don Carlos and Berta in the 2008 Fall Season production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. She is a winner of the Helen Jepson Dellera Award from Sarasota Opera's Bradenton Opera Guild, grants from the Giulio Gari and Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundations, and has made appearances in concert at Alice Tully Hall and Rose Hall in New York.
Since his professional debut as Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Mr. Meers has performed with opera companies throughout the United States and made his successful international debut with the Bangkok Opera as Tamino in The Magic Flute. He also has appeared in Billy Budd, Il Trovatore, Turandot, the American premiere of Arshak Erkrord by Armenian composer Dikran Tchouhadjian and multiple projects with the Opera Center – all at San Francisco Opera.
Highlights of his current repertoire include the principal tenor roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, Roméo et Juliette, Werther, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Eugene Onegin, Un Ballo in Maschera and Don Carlos.
Grant Clarke, who came through the Apprentice Artist program here in 2008 and 2009, will portray Marcello. Mr. Clarke’s roles include Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas with Central City Opera, the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Marco in Gianni Schicchi, Bartley in Riders to the Sea, the Second Officer in Dialogues des Carmélites, and the King in All That Glitters with The Manhattan School of Music; and, while at Indiana University, the second suitor in the American Premier of Sven-David Sandström’s Jeppe and the Second Priest in Die Zauberflöte. Most recently, he appeared in concert with the Sarasota Artist Series and for the Walt Whitman Project in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, New York.
Finally, Carelle Flores, who made her Sarasota Opera debut as a Studio Artist in 2006, appearing as Adele in Die Fledermaus. She was a Fall Outreach Soloist in 2007 and returned in Fall 2009 for La traviata. Other engagements include Barbarina in The Marriage of  Figaro and Musetta with Palm Beach Opera; Mimì in La bohème with Ashlawn Opera Festival and Indiana University Opera; Countess Ceprano and The Page in Rigoletto with Opera Carolina; Constanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Maria in West Side Story with Indiana University Opera. She was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Semi-Finalist for 2009 and a Regional Finalist in 2007.
During the performance, the cars of patrons who have tickets to the Gala will be transported by our valets to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. And after the curtain comes down those patrons will board a luxury coach and be whisked away to the Ritz. The event will be chaired by Suzanne and Hank Foster. Corporate sponsors are PNC Wealth Management and Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen.
The gala will begin with cocktails and continue with a three-course gourmet meal. The Cigar City Big Band will provide music for dancing, with floral arrangements by Elegant Designs.
Tickets for the opening performance of La bohème are still available and start at $19.  There will be an additional ten performances through March 19. Reservations for the Opening Gala Dinner, which do not include the performance, are $225 per person. Overnight packages at the Ritz are also available. Call Corporate and Special Events Officer Jennifer Simms at (941) 366-8450, ext. 402, for more information on the Gala and hotel stays.
Other operas to be performed in repertory during the Festival are Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s I Lombardi, and Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera The Crucible, based on Arthur Miller’s Tony Award winning play of the same name. 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 www.sarasotaopera.org.