Press Releases

2011 Press Releases

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November 23, 2011

Samuel Lowry
Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322, Direct Line

Madama Butterfly Closes to Rave Reviews

Sarasota Opera Reports Highest Recorded Sales for Fall Opera

“As the star, Japanese native Asako Tamura was a pure joy as Butterfly.”
- Albert Cohen, Pro Opera Magazine

“Sarasota Opera’s production of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s beloved “Japanese Tragedy” is a compelling vindication of the contemporary relevance of opera in our lives – the hallmark of great art.”
- Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald Tribune

“I have wept through many a moving ‘Madama Butterfly’, from the Met and New York City Opera to companies abroad and cinematic versions that broke my heart, but the fall production mounted by Sarasota Opera is the most convincing, honest, moving and beautiful I’ve seen yet.”
- June LeBell, The Longboat Observer

“DeRenzi and the Sarasota Opera gave this production of ‘Madama Butterfly’ lift and propelled it skyward.  Even if its characters were bound to come tumbling back to earth, the flight was full of exhilarating moments.”
- Harriet Howard Heithaus, Naples Daily News

“…the production is an ideal representation of the Puccini favorite”
- John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times

November 22, 2011 – Sarasota Opera closed its fall production of Puccini’s heartrending Madama Butterfly, which ran for six performances between October 28th and November 15th, to great acclaim by both critics and audience members.  Ticket sales grossed over half a million dollars which makes Madama Butterfly the best selling show since the inception of the fall opera season in 2008.  Four of the six performances were sold-out and, on average, 10% of the audience at each performance were new patrons to Sarasota Opera.   In addition, the company has been seeing a significant increase in subscriptions and ticket sales reporting over 290 new subscribers to the 2011-2012 Winter Season thus far and a $300,000 increase in sales from this point last year.    

A special addition to the traditional fall season included an innovative partnership between Sarasota Opera and the 4th Annual Sarasota Chalk Festival to present scenes from Madama Butterfly outdoors on a painted canvas by Baltimore based designer and artist Michael Kirby.  Sarasota Opera Studio Artists presented 3 one-hour scene programs over the course of the day to a very attentive crowd that ranged in age from 6 years old to adults.  In addition to the Chalk Festival performance, Sarasota Opera continues its commitment to educate its community through its outreach program.  Between October 15th and November 15th, Sarasota Opera Artists participate in over 20 outreach concerts  which include performances for community groups, school programs and weekly lobby concerts at the Sarasota Opera House.   


The 2012 Winter Festival Season will run February 11 through March 25, 2012 and include Bizet’s fiery Carmen (the original opéra-comique version with spoken dialogue) , Donizetti’s heartbreaking Lucia di Lammermoor, the Sarasota Opera debut of Verdi’s Otello continuing the Verdi Cycle, and Samuel Barber’s beautiful Vanessa will serve as the second installment of the American Classics series.  Subscriptions and Single Tickets are on sale by calling (941) 328-1300 or visiting the Sarasota Opera Box Office located at 61 North Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.  You may also purchase tickets online via our website at .


Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is approaching its 53rd consecutive 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 featured Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in the fall.  The 2012 Winter Festival will include Bizet’s Carmen (opéra-comique version with spoken dialogue), 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.

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