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2011 Press Releases

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Panel Discussion on McCarthyism

April 12, 2011

Contact: Samuel Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322 

Sarasota Opera and Sarasota Film Festival to Host
Panel Discussion on McCarthyism
Sarasota, FL – Sunday, April 17th, at 3pm at the Sarasota Opera House, The Sarasota Opera
and the Sarasota Film Festival will present a panel discussion on Censorship and Cinema:
The Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist, thanks to the generosity of the Gulf Coast
Community Foundation of Venice. This will be the final installment in a series of educational
events designed around Sarasota Opera’s 2011 production of Robert Ward’s The Crucible. The
esteemed panel will include Peter Askin (Director, TRUMBO) David Fear (Editor, Time Out
New York Film) Joshua Marston (Director, MARIA FULL OF GRACE, THE FORGIVENESS
OF BLOOD) Dr. Howard Pollack (John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music, The
University of Houston) Reid Rosefelt (Film Publicist, Essayist) and Alex Ross (Music Critic,
THE NEW YORKER Magazine). Anyone who attended a performance of The Crucible will be
admitted free of charge with their ticket stub. Additional tickets are available for purchase
through the Sarasota Film Festival (
The 2011 winter season marked the kick off a new initiative for Sarasota Opera called the
American Classics series; bringing American opera written by American composers to Sarasota.
In celebration of the work’s 50th anniversary, the company presented Robert Ward’s Pulitzer
Prize winning opera The Crucible, which opened March 5th and ran through March 19th, to
critical acclaim. The opera is based on Arthur Miller’s Tony Award winning play of the same
Thanks to a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, Sarasota Opera
partnered with other local arts organizations to create educational programs designed to help
prepare and familiarize the audience with the Opera. Events included a screening of the 1996
film The Crucible with the Sarasota Film Society; a Spoken and Sung program in which scenes
from the Arthur Miller play were presented along with scenes from the Opera by third year
students of the Asolo Conservatory and the Studio Artists of the Sarasota Opera; and a
Conversation with the Composer at which Sarasota Opera Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi
interviewed Robert Ward in a public forum at the Opera House.
“The culmination of the educational offering associated with our production of The Crucible is
certainly exciting,” says Sarasota Opera Executive Director Susan T. Danis. “Having the
opportunity to link the two genres and give the community the opportunity to see and hear about
what inspired both Miller and Ward to write these works is a point of pride for both
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.