Press Releases

2011 Press Releases

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July 16, 2011

Samuel Lowry, Communications Officer

(941) 328-1322


Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Van Alstyne as the new Director of Production with Sarasota Opera effective Monday, July 18th.  Most recently, Van Alstyne served as the production manager with the Baltimore Opera Company from 2006 until 2009 overseeing the production and technical departments with an annual operating budget of $3.2 million.   

As a member of the Company’s senior management staff, the director of production oversees an annual departmental operating budget of $4.1 million including Stage Operations, Production Stage Management, Technical Administration, Scene Construction, Costume Shop and Wig & Make-up departments.   In addition, the director of production is in charge of the company’s set rental program.

“I am happy to welcome Chris Van Alstyne to Sarasota Opera”, says Maestro Victor DeRenzi.  “This a complicated, far reaching position and I feel Chris possesses not only the relevant technical capabilities but also the skills required to lead a staff and communicate to a range of people in varied technical and artistic positions.”  

“I am very excited to be assuming the role of Director of Production at Sarasota Opera”, says Van Alstyne from his home in Baltimore, MD.  “I have spent more than 25 years in the support of the Arts, working all over the world, but have not been as enthusiastic about any other position, organization or location.  It just feels like a perfect fit.  I am thankful to Susan Danis and Maestro DeRenzi for offering me this opportunity and ‘on with the show!’

Van Alstyne brings a distinguished and extensive breadth of education and experience to his new job.  Prior to his role as production manager with the Baltimore Opera Company, he served as the production manager with the Boston Ballet and technical director for the North American and European tours of Cirque du Soleil.  He has also held positions as theatre operations manager with CUNY Staten Island Center for the Arts, production manager and technical director with Midwood Field Concerts in Brooklyn, NY, and technical director with the Opera Theatre at Brooklyn College, NY.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Technical Theater from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Technical Design and Production from the Yale School of Drama.      

About Sarasota Opera
Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera just completed its 52nd season. In 1960 the company began presenting chamber-sized repertoire in the historic 320-seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater in downtown Sarasota in 1979 and first performing in it in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House. The theater has just undergone a $20-million renovation and rehabilitation enhancing audience amenities, while updating the technical facilities including increasing the size of the orchestra pit. The theater, which reopened in March 2008, has been called “one of America’s finest venues for opera” by Musical America.
Since 1983 the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi. Since then the company has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle producing the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its Invitation to Opera performances for local schools and the unique Sarasota Youth Opera program
The 2011-2012 Season will feature Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in the fall. The 2012 Winter festival will include Bizet’s Carmen, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Verdi’s Otello, and Barber’s Vanessa. Subscriptions are on sale by calling (941) 328-1300 or visiting the Sarasota Opera Box Office. Single tickets will go on sale August 1 online ( and September 1 at the Box Office.

all the Box Office at (941) 328-1300; visit in-person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236, in the building next to the Opera House, entrance under the green awning, or go online to  Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.