Press Releases

2011 Press Releases

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October 4, 2011

                        Sam Lowry, Communications Officer

                        (941) 328-1322




Sarasota, FL – The artists have arrived, rehearsals have begun and music is once again emanating out of the Sarasota Opera House as preparations begin for the 2011 fall production of Giacomo Puccini’s classic love story Madama Butterfly running October 28, 2011 through November 15, 2011.      


Premiered in February 1904 at the famed La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy, Madama Butterfly tells the story of Cio-Cio San, a young geisha also known as Butterfly, who leaves her family to marry B.F. Pinkerton, a young Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy temporarily stationed in Nagasaki, Japan at the turn of the 20th Century.  Pinkerton has secured a lease on a house for 999 years with the option of canceling the contract any month.  Overwhelmed by his immediate professions of love, Butterfly claims eternal devotion to the young American and promises to wait for his return when orders take him back to America, unaware of the twist of fate time eventually unveils.


Maestro Victor DeRenzi, celebrating his 30th season as Artistic Director of Sarasota Opera, has assembled an international cast of talent that will be sure to sing life into Puccini’s heartrending music.  Soprano Asako Tamura, who has sung the role of Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and in South America, and was last seen at Sarasota Opera in 2006 as Amalia in Verdi’s I Masnadieri, will return to sing the title role.  Joining Ms. Tamura will be two Sarasota Opera favorites.  Tenor Rafael Dávila, who has recently appeared at the Teatro San Carlo and New Zealand Opera, and who brought the house down as Oronte in the 2011 production of I Lombardi alla prima crociata, returns for his eighth season to portray the young Naval Officer B.F. Pinkerton. In addition, baritone Marco Nisticò, who was last seen in Sarasota as Giacomo in Giovanna d’Arco and has recently appeared at the Teatro Regio di Torino and New York City Opera, sings the American Consul Sharpless.  Finally, making her Sarasota Opera debut will be mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen singing the role of Butterfly’s faithful servant Suzuki.  Ms. Nelsen most recently received accolades for her portrayal of Suzuki at both New York City Opera and at Royal Albert Hall in London.  Martha Collins will return to direct this beautiful Sarasota Opera production, last seen in 2007, that features sets by David P. Gordon and costumes by Evan Ayotte.  


With tickets starting at only $19 and the reinstatement of weekday matinees, there is no excuse to miss seeing one of opera’s greatest works brought to life here in Sarasota.  Performances are October 28, 30 (matinee), November 2, 5 (matinee), 9 (weekday matinee), and 15.  Evening performances begin at 8pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm.    


Sarasota Opera thanks our Media Sponsor for Madama Butterfly, the Herald Tribune; our Magazine Sponsor for Madama Butterfly, Sarasota Magazine; and our 2011/2012 Season Sponsor, Fifth Third Bank.


All performances at the Sarasota Opera House at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL



Madama Butterfly

Music by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

6 Performances:  October 28, 30m, November 2, 5m, 9m, 15



Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera just finished 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 went on sale August 1st online ( ) and September 1st in the Box Office.


Call 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.

Sarasota Opera  


61 N. Pineapple Avenue  


Sarasota, FL 34236  


(941) 366-8450