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2011 Press Releases

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March 23, 2012

Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322

Fifth Third Bank appoints Susan Danis to Board of Directors

Sarasota, FL – Susan T. Danis, Executive Director of Sarasota Opera, has been appointed to the South Florida affiliate’s board of directors for Fifth Third Bank.  Recognized for her long standing career as an advocate and leader in the Arts, Ms. Danis will lend industry-specific perspectives during the 2012 term to help guide the bank’s endeavors throughout South Florida. 

Ms. Danis has served as the Executive Director of Sarasota Opera since 1999 and under her guidance the opera has grown from an annual budget of $3.2 million to more than $8.5 million.  In addition, Ms. Danis oversaw a $20 million renovation of the opera’s 1926 historic theater which led to the awarding of the 2010 Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award, she has been instrumental in the ongoing commissioning of new works for the Sarasota Youth Opera program, and has raised over $47 million (including legacy gifts) during the “Building on the Vision” campaign. 

“Fifth Third Bank has been a wonderful supporter of Sarasota Opera and the Arts in Florida for many years”, says Ms. Danis of her new appointment.  “I am humbled by this honor and I look forward to working closely with Fifth Third Bank to help them continue to effectively support the Arts in the state of Florida.”   

In addition to her new position with Fifth Third Bank, Ms. Danis presently holds the office of Chairman of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She served several years as treasurer for the board of OPERA America, is an emeritus board member of the Sarasota Music Archive, the Sarasota Downtown Alliance, a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Junior League and a past board member of the Sarasota County Cultural Alliance and The New Gate School of Sarasota.  She has served as a panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is currently a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. 

Ms. Danis holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Hartford’s Paris Program and a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University. 

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.  The 2012 Winter Festival will include Bizet’s Carmen (opéra-comique version with spoken dialogue), Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Verdi’s Otello, and Samuel 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.