Press Releases

2011 Press Releases

Show All


January 17, 2012

Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322

Sarasota Opera 2012 Winter Festival Season Opens February 11th


Lucia di Lammermoor



Maestro DeRenzi Celebrates his 30th Season as Artistic Director

Sarasota, FL – An outstanding international cast of new and returning artists have been selected for the 2012 Sarasota Opera Winter Festival Season which runs from February 11 through March 25, 2012.  This year will bring the return of classic favorites and never before seen operas including two new productions conceived and built right here in Sarasota.  The season will be capped off with a gala celebration on March 25th honoring Maestro Victor DeRenzi’s 30th Season as Artistic Director of Sarasota Opera.

Casting Highlights for 2012

Conductor: Victor DeRenzi
Stage Director:  Martha Collins
Carmen:  Fredrika Brillembourg*
Don José:  Antonio Nagore
Micaela:  Danielle Walker
Escamillo:  Carlos Monzón

Lucia di Lammermoor
Conductor: Anthony Barrese
Stage Director: Brian Robertson
Lucia:  Kathleen Kim
Enrico:  Lee Poulis
Edgardo:  Joshua Kohl
Raimondo:  Young-Bok Kim
Conductor: Victor DeRenzi
Stage Director: Stephanie Sundine
Otello:  Rafael Dávila
Desdemona: Maria D’Amato
Iago:  Sean Anderson

Conductor: David Neely
Stage Director: Michael Unger
Vanessa:  Kara Shay Thomson
Erika:  Audrey Babcock*
Anatol:  Scott Piper*
*Sarasota Opera Debut

Music by Georges Bizet
Sung in French with English supertitles
11 Performances:  February 11, 14, 19m, 22, 24, March 4m, 8, 11, 16, 20, 24

The 2012 Winter Opera Festival opens on February 11, 2012 with the opéra-comique version of Bizet’s fiery Carmen with the original spoken dialogue.  Opera’s most famous femme fatale, Carmen tells the electrifying story of the free-spirited gypsy and how she uses the love of an entranced soldier for her own gain resulting in jealousy and murder.  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.  Danielle Walker, last heard as Don Elvira in last Season’s Don Giovanni, sings Micaëla and Carlos Monzón portrays the toreador Escamillo.   Carmen will be performed in French with English supertitles and will run for 11 performances from February 11 through March 24, 2012 

Lucia di Lammermoor
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
9 Performances:  February 18, 21, 23, 26m, March 2, 7, 9m, 17m, 23

Deceit leads to murder which leads to madness in Donizetti’s musically and dramatically exhilarating masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor.  Rising opera star, Soprano Kathleen Kim, returns to Sarasota Opera to make her role debut as Lucia.  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 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, Brian Robertson, who directed the 2005 Sarasota Opera production of Stiffelio, 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.

Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Sarasota Opera Premiere
7 Performances:  March 3, 6, 11m, 14, 17, 22, 25m

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.  Verdi’s tour-de-force is the tale of passionate love undermind by the vindictive scheming of Iago, Otello’s ensign, throwing Otello into a murderous rage against his innocent wife, Desdemona.  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.

Music by Samuel Barber
Sung in English with English supertitles
Sarasota Opera Premiere
March 10, 13, 15, 18m, 21, 24
**Free pre-performance introductions 45 minutes before curtain in Felding Hall

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 aging aunt, dreaming of love’s return, and her niece Erika, who waits for love to come.  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 Eberhard.  David 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.   
Maestro DeRenzi’s 30th Season Gala March 25, 2012

The 2011-2012 Season marks Maestro DeRenzi’s 30th season as Artistic Director of Sarasota Opera.  This monumental achievement will be celebrated with a gala celebration and concert featuring Sarasota Opera Artists, Sarasota Youth Opera and the Sarasota Opera Orchestra which will close out the 2011-2012 Season.  A gala dinner will begin at 5pm in the Peterson Great Room of the Sarasota Opera House followed by Maestro’s 30th Season Concert at 7pm.  Dessert and tributes will resume in the Peterson Great Room following the concert.   


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.