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February 3, 2012

Contact:  Samuel Lowry 
 (941) 328-1322


Sarasota, FL – Following the successful run of education events developed around the 2011 production of Robert Ward’s The Crucible, Sarasota Opera has designed another series of innovative education events for the upcoming production of Samuel Barber's Vanessa opening March 10, 2012, a continuation of the American Classics Series.  These education events are designed to familiarize and educate the Sarasota Opera audience who might not be as familiar with the genre of American Opera as they are with the more standard repertoire.

     A Conversation with soprano Johanna Meier

     Partner:          The Education Center of Longboat Key
     Date:              Wednesday, February 8, 2012  5:00pm
     Location:         Education Center of Longboat Key
                           5370 Gulf of Mexico Drive
                           Longboat Key, FL 34228

Johanna Meier is an American operatic soprano, known as one of the foremost Wagnerian sopranos of her era. Ms. Meier was a leading soprano with the Metropolitan Opera (14 years) and countless major opera houses and orchestras throughout the world. Ms. Meier played the title role in Vanessa when it was televised from the Spoleto Festival USA in 1978 and for this production worked closely with composer Barber and librettist Menotti.  She will be interviewed by Sarasota Opera Artistic Administrator Greg Trupiano.
Admission is $5.00 per person.  Call (941) 383-8811 for reservations.

     Screening of the 1986 movie Babette's Feast

     Partner:           Sarasota Film Society

     Dates:             Saturday, February 18, 2012  9:30am
                           Downtown Burns Court Cinema
                           506 Burns Lane, Sarasota, FL 34236

                           Saturday, March 3, 2012  9:30am
                           Lakewood Ranch Burns Court Cinema
                           10715 Rodeo Drive, #8
                           Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

In conjunction with the Sarasota Film society, we will have two showings of the movie Babette’s Feast that received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1986. The movie is based on the story Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen first published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1950 and later included in Dinesen’s Anecdotes of Destiny (1958).  This is a free event.

     Spoken and Sung

     Partner:           The Asolo Conservatory
     Date:               Tuesday, March 13, 2012  5:00pm
     Location:          Sarasota Opera House


Working with the third year students of the Asolo Conservatory and the Studio Artists of Sarasota Opera, the program will explore Isak Dinesen and the author’s work “Seven Gothic Tales” which influenced Barber and librettist Gian Carlo Menotti during the opera’s composition. The Opera’s artists will perform arias and ensembles from Vanessa. The actors will perform passages from “Seven Gothic Tales” that suggest these sections of the opera. Tickets are $5.00 per person and are available on-line at or by calling (941) 328-1300.      



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 Fall 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