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Sarasota Opera Opening Night a Success!

February 5, 2011

Patricia G. Horwell, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1334

Sarasota Opera’s 2011 Winter Opera Festival and 52nd Season opened Saturday, February 5, with Puccini’s beloved opera, La bohème. Patrons in formal dress flowed through the Opera House lobbies and into the William E. Schmidt Opera Theater for the evening’s performance. PNC Wealth Management and Williams Parker Harrison Dietz and Getzen were the evening’s corporate sponsors.
Maria D’Amato sang the role of the frail and beautiful Mìmi, who falls in love with the poor poet Rodolfo, played by Harold Meers. Grant Clarke sang the role of Marcello the painter. Carelle Flores was the flamboyant Musetta; Matthew Hanscom, Schaunard the musician; and Young-Bok Kim, the philosopher Colline. The company’s Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi conducted the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and Stephanie Sundine directed, with sets designed by David P. Gordon. Costume coordinator was resident designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan; Ken Yunker was lighting designer; and Georgianna Eberhard, wig and make-up designer. The chorus master was Roger L. Bingaman. Michael Wittenburg is the music director of Sarasota Youth Opera, who also participated in this performance.
Following the performance, more than 350 patrons streamed into waiting luxury coaches, which chauffeured them to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota for the event of the season — the Gala Dinner, chaired by Suzanne and Henry Foster. A gourmet meal served in the French manner in the Ritz ballroom, included tartes au poires, salade de frisée at celery poche a l’orange, filet mignon sauce au vin rouge, petites betterasve, purée d’epinards et pomme paille. Desert was. The sumptuous meal was completed with the specially created dessert — Opera Moderne — ganache de chocolat noir et son glace au café en verrine. Wine accompanied the dinner.
Floral pieces, abloom with pink roses and fashioned in French topiaries, were created by Yelena Riches of Elegant Designs. Music for dancing was provided by The Cigar City Band.
In addition to La bohème, Sarasota Opera’s 52nd Season includes Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s I Lombardi, and Robert Ward’s The Crucible, based on Arthur Miller’s play of the same name. For tickets or information, call the box office at (941) 328-1300, stop by in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, or visit on line at