Press Releases

2011 Press Releases

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June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011
Contact: Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322 


Sarasota, FL – An outstanding international cast of new and returning artists have been selected for the 2011-2012 Sarasota Opera festival season.  This year will bring the return of classic favorites, never before seen operas in Sarasota and two new productions built right here in Sarasota.  The season will be capped off with a gala celebration honoring Maestro Victor DeRenzi’s 30th Season as Artistic Director of Sarasota Opera.  Click here to read more about the upcoming 2011-2012 season and cast. 

Sarasota Opera opens the fall of it’s 2011/2012 Season with Puccini’s tender love story Madama Butterfly starring soprano Asako Tamura in the title role who last bowed in Sarasota as Amalia in the 2006 production of I masnadieri.  Ms. Tamura has been described as a “first class singing actress” building an international career that has taken her around the world.  Returning after his triumphant turn as Oronte in last season’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Rafael Dávila will sing the role of the callous U.S. Naval Officer B.F. Pinkerton, Butterfly’s love.  Mezzo-Soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen will make her Sarasota Opera debut as Butterfly’s maid, Suzuki, and Marco Nisticò returns as American consul Sharpless.  Sung in Italian with English supertitles, Madama Butterfly runs from October 28 through November 15, 2011  

The 2012 Winter Opera Festival opens on February 11, 2012 with a brand new production of Bizet’s fiery Carmen .  Known for her “velvety timbre” and “magnificent presence, both as a singer and as an actress”, mezzo-soprano Fredrika Brillembourg will make her Sarasota Opera debut in the title role.  Not seen in Sarasota since 1995, tenor Antonio Nagore will return to the Sarasota Opera stage as the obsessive, love stricken Don José.  Carmen will be performed in French with English supertitles and will run from February 11 through March 24, 2012. 

Rising opera star, soprano Kathleen Kim, returns to Sarasota Opera to sing the title role in the 2012 Sarasota Opera production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor .  Ms. Kim was an Apprentice Artist at Sarasota Opera in 2002 and returned as a Studio Artist in 2005.  During the 2010-2011 Season, Ms. Kim appeared as Madame Mao in the Metropolitan Opera’s premiere of Nixon in China, which was broadcast in theaters nationwide via the MET HD program, and reprised her acclaimed portrayal of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos also at the Metropolitan Opera.  In addition, Ms. Kim’s 2010-2011 Season included appearances as The Queen of the Night from Die Zauberflöte at the Bavarian State Opera, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Poppea in Agrippina at the Boston Lyric Opera. 
“I can’t even describe how excited I am to go back to sing my role debut of Lucia at Sarasota Opera”, says Ms. Kim.  “Lucia has been one of my dream roles since I was a student.  Sarasota Opera performed Lucia di Lammermoor when I was an Apprentice Artist at Sarasota Opera in 2002 and of course I sang in the chorus.  I remember dreaming of singing the title role at every performance.  Sarasota Opera is a very special place for me because it was my first Apprentice Artist program after graduation.  During my time there I learned so much that schools can’t teach – the experience of live theater and being a performer.  Because of my familiarity with the rehearsal process and the number of performances they do, I knew Sarasota Opera would be the perfect place for me to do my first Lucia.  I am so glad I waited!”   

Ms. Kim has been heralded by Opera News as “spectacular”, by the Chicago Sun-Times as “a revelation”, and the Chicago Tribune noted that Ms. Kim “nailed her stratospheric coloratura aria with a precise, penetrating soprano.”

Ms. Kim will be joined on stage by Lee Poulis, last seasons villainous Don Giovanni, as Lucia’s spiteful brother, Enrico.  In addition, Joshua Kohl returns, seen last season as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, as Edgardo and Young-Bok Kim, who was Colline in last season’s La bohème, returns as Raimondo, Lucia’s tutor.  Stage Director, Allison Grant, who directed the 2009 production of Die Zauberflöte, returns to direct and Sarasota Opera favorite Maestro Anthony Barrese will conduct.  Sung in Italian with English supertitles, Lucia di Lammermoor runs from February 18 – March 24, 2012.

For the first time on the Sarasota Opera stage, Maestro Victor DeRenzi, celebrating his 30th year as Artistic Director, will lead the cast and orchestra in Verdi’s masterpiece Otello which will mark Sarasota Opera’s final five years of the Verdi Cycle ending in 2016.  Rafael Dávila will return to bring his robust and beautiful full lyric tenor voice to the stage in his portrayal of the title role, and Maria D’Amato, last season’s heartbreaking Mimi in La bohème, will portray the deceived yet endlessly faithful Desdemona.  Otello will be performed in Italian with English supertitles and will run from March 3 through March 25, 2012.

Rounding out the 2012 Winter Season will be Samuel Barber’s Vanessa as a continuation of the new American Classics series.  An opera of lyrical and intense beauty, Vanessa weaves a story of lies, secrets and evasion between an aunt and her niece all under an elegant surface.  Kara Shay Thomson, who brought down the house in 2009 as Tosca, returns to sing the title role.  Making their Sarasota Opera debut, rising star, mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock, will assume the role as her niece Erika and tenor Scott Piper will sing the role of Anatol, the love interest of both women.  The creative team responsible for the success of last year’s production of The Crucible will return to build Vanessa from the ground up right here in Sarasota including Scenic Designer Michael Schweikardt, Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan, Lighting Designer Ken Yunker and Wigs and Make-Up Designer Georgianna EberhardDavid Neely returns to conduct and Michael Unger returns to direct.  Vanessa will be sung in English with supertitles projected above the screen and will run from March 10 through March 24, 2012.