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September 19, 2012

Samuel Lowry 
Office:  (941) 328-1322
Cell:     (347) 268-2513

Sarasota Opera Appoints Richard Russell as New Executive Director

Sarasota, FL – The Board of Trustees of Sarasota Opera is very pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Russell as the new Executive Director of Sarasota Opera effective November 1, 2012.  Mr. Russell, who was Sarasota Opera’s Director of Marketing from 2005 – 2010, returns to Sarasota having served the past three seasons as General Director of Opera New Jersey in Princeton, NJ.
“Richard Russell is well known and respected in Sarasota and is thoroughly knowledgeable about the operations of Sarasota Opera,” said Donald Worthington, Chairman of the Board of Sarasota Opera.  “His recent position of General Director of Opera New Jersey adds to his qualifications.  His familiarity with Sarasota Opera will enable him to perform his duties as Executive Director without a lengthy learning process.  We are indeed pleased and excited to welcome Richard and his wife Cynthia back to the fold and we look forward to his bold leadership.”

Russell, Richard

Richard holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the prestigious Indiana University in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting.  After pursuing a successful performing career, he worked for several technology and financial companies, ultimately achieving the position of Vice-President and Global Webmaster for Citigroup's Emerging Markets Sales and Trading Division.  During his five seasons with Sarasota Opera, he oversaw the marketing and communications strategy for the Capital Campaign to fund the $20 million renovation of the historic Sarasota Opera House.  In addition, he oversaw approximately $3 million in earned revenue, managed
public relations and marketing and participated in every aspect of the company, including artistic planning and donor cultivation.  
“I have known Richard for many years, as a musician and administrator,” said Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi.  “Richard understands and believes in Sarasota Opera’s mission. He is respected by our staff, patrons and supporters who know him. Richard’s combination of artistic and business knowledge as well as his integrity will be invaluable to Sarasota Opera and our community.”
“I'm thrilled to be coming back to Sarasota Opera,” says Mr. Russell from his office in New Jersey.  “Susan Danis left big shoes to fill, but I'm excited with the opportunity to rejoin the company that has been an important part of my life ever since I was an apprentice artist in 1989.” 
Among his many achievements during his two years at Opera New Jersey, Mr. Russell expanded the company's presence in the state by adding performances in
Asbury Park and Morristown to its summer season.  He also initiated new partnerships with other arts and culture organizations, and increased the company's donor base.  Sarasota Opera will open its fall season with Verdi’s Rigoletto, which will run from October 26 through November 12, 2012, followed by the Sarasota Youth
Opera Premiere of Little Nemo in Slumberland on November 10 and 11, 2012.      
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.
Full season subscriptions are now on sale and may be purchased by calling (941) 328-1300 or online at .  Full-season subscriptions range in price from $80 - $468, with a four opera subscription starting at only $64.  Single Tickets ranging from $19 - $120 are also available for purchase at (941) 328-1300 or online at .  You can also visit the Sarasota Opera Box Office at 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34234.  
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 •