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2011 Press Releases

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July 18, 2012

Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322

Sarasota, FL – Susan Danis, who will be celebrating her 15th season as Executive Director of Sarasota Opera this year, will serve both as guest speaker and keynote speaker for two prominent organizations this weekend in Sarasota. 

On Friday, July 20, at the Lakewood Ranch campus of the State College of Florida, Ms. Danis is one of just a handful of invited guest speakers to lead a forum entitled “Upselling Arts and Culture:  Moving Ticket Buyers to Become Donors” for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southwest Chapter’s 2012 Fundraising Forum.  The Association of Fundraising Professionals is an individual membership association advancing philanthropy through education, training and advocacy.  For more information, visit their website at

Immediately following on Saturday, July 21st, Ms. Danis will serve as the keynote speaker at the annual retreat for the Athena Society, an organization of Tampa Bay based professionals founded in 1976, who have both demonstrated leadership in the community and committed themselves to promoting equality and opportunity for women.  Her talk will focus on how she became the Executive Director of one of the top opera companies in the United States and the challenges she faced along the way.  The Athena Society annually hand picks a speaker they deem to be influential in their community and whose achievements and accomplishments identify with the mission of the Athenian Society.  For more information, visit their website at        

Susan T. Danis has served as the Executive Director of Sarasota Opera since 1999.  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.  Ms. Danis presently holds the office of Chairman of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau and was recently appointed to the South Florida affiliate’s board of directors for Fifth Third Bank .  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.

Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is approaching its 54th 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.

Subscriptions for the 2012 – 2013 Fall and Winter Season are now on sale and available by calling (941) 328-1300 or visiting the Sarasota Opera Box Office at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue. Single tickets will go on sale August 1st online ( and September 4th 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 •