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May 2, 2013

Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322

Sarasota Opera Announces its 55th Season

2013 Fall Season

Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr.

The Little Sweep
by Benjamin Britten
(presented by the Sarasota Youth Opera)

2014 Winter Festival

Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
(New production)

The Barber of Seville
 by Gioachino Rossini

The Flying Dutchman
 by Richard Wagner

 by Giuseppe Verdi
(Sarasota Opera Premiere)

Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera is pleased to announce its 2013 – 2014 Fall and Winter programming which will mark the company’s 55th consecutive season of performing grand opera on the Florida gulf coast.  Highlights will include the return of some of Sarasota Opera’s most acclaimed productions, the Sarasota Opera premiere of Verdi’s Jérusalem as part of the ongoing Verdi Cycle, and the debut of new concerts to the Sarasota Opera Concert Series.     
“This will be a season of celebration,” says Richard Russell, Executive Director.  “Not only will Sarasota Opera be marking the company’s 55th consecutive season, we will be commemorating the anniversaries of the birth of three of opera’s most significant composers through our programming; Wagner, Britten, and of course Verdi.  We hope you will come and join in the festivities.”
Fledermaus 2006
Sarasota Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus in 2006
Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr. 
The fall 2013 season will open on November 1st with Johann Strauss, Jr.’s operetta Die Fledermaus last seen in Sarasota in 2006.  As the plot unfolds, an elaborate scheme is hatched to expose the womanizing ways of the wealthy Eisenstein as he attempts to enjoy a night of frivolity at an elaborate Viennese ball before going to jail.  Hidden identities and amorous intrigues mixed with a splash of mistaken identity make for a night of unwieldy delight in this charming story where champagne reigns as king!
Baritone Sean Anderson (Of Mice and Men, Otello) returns to sing the role of the scheming Eisenstein and soprano Danielle Walker (A King for a Day, Carmen) will sing the role of his wife Rosalinda.  Rounding out the cast will be soprano Angela Mortellaro (Hansel and Gretel) as Adele, Rosalinda’s chambermaid, tenor Joshua Kohl (Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Giovanni) as Alfred, Rosalinda’s former admirer, baritone Matthew Hanscom (Of Mice and Men, Turandot) as Dr. Falke, a.k.a “The Bat”, and mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert (Rigoletto, La rondine), as Prince Orlofsky, the evenings host in the opera.  Stephanie Sundine will direct and Maestro Victor DeRenzi will conduct.  This production will be sung in English with a translation by Marcie Stapp.      
The Little Sweep by Benjamin Britten
Following their triumphal performances of last season’s world premiere of Little Nemo in Slumberland, the acclaimed Sarasota Youth Opera will present a full-scale production of Benjamin Britten’s opera The Little Sweep .  A group of children, with the help of a kind nursery maid, work to free a young chimney sweep apprentice from his cruel master.  This enchanting work, which was written to help introduce children to opera and will be sure to delight both children and adults alike, will be presented on November 9 and 10.  The children principal roles and chorus will be performed by members of the Sarasota Youth Opera program.  The adult roles will be performed by members of the Sarasota Opera Apprentice Program.  The production will be directed by Martha Collins and conducted by Maestro Jesse Martins
2014 Winter Festival
Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
Opening the 2014 Winter Opera Festival will be a new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s hot-blooded drama Il trovatore on February 8, 2014 designed by Scenic Designer Michael Schweikardt.  Not seen in Sarasota since 1993 (Sarasota Opera performed the French version, Le Trouvère, in 2002), Il trovatore tells the story of a troubadour's quest for love, a soldier’s lust, and a daughter’s undying thirst for vengeance.  Il trovatore, which was premiered in 1853, features operatic favorites such as the famous “Anvil Chorus” and the valiant tenor cabaletta “Di quella pira.”
Two rising stars of the opera world will make their Sarasota Opera debut in this production.  Baritone David Pershall will debut as Count di Luna, the jealous commander of the Aragon troops.  Mr. Pershall, who joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera this past season, has also been heard with Dallas Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Opera Orchestra of New York.  In addition to Mr. Pershall, Mezzo-soprano Margaret Mezzacappa will debut as the vengeful Azucena.  Ms. Mezzacappa, who was the Grand Prize winner at the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performed this role in 2012 at Opera New Jersey under Maestro DeRenzi.  Other engagements include appearances at Opera Philadelphia, Cleveland Opera, Carnegie Hall, and an upcoming debut at San Francisco Opera.   Stephanie Sundine returns as stage director and Maestro Victor DeRenzi will conduct.   
The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini 
The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini, one of the most beloved comedic works in the operatic repertory, will return to Sarasota Opera’s stage opening February 15th in a revival of the 2008 production.  Determined to win the heart of the beautiful Rosina with charm and wit, rather than money, Count Almaviva enlists the help of Figaro, the barber of Seville, to steal her away from her guardian, Dr. Bartolo.
Baritone Marco Nisticò, who sang the title role in last season’s production of Rigoletto which were followed by performances of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, will return to sing the role of Figaro.  Bass Young Bok Kim, who was heard last season as both Sparafucile in Rigoletto as well as Timur in Turandot, will reprise his role of Basilio.  Stage Director William Gustafson, who has directed past productions of The Barber of Seville as well as The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel for Sarasota Opera, will return to direct.      

The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner
Legends of the sea come to life on March 1, 2014 as Sarasota Opera remounts its 2000 production by David P. Gordon of The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner.  As the story goes, The Flying Dutchman tells the tale of a cursed sea captain forced to wander the world, ultimately finding redemption in the selfless gift of a woman’s love.  The unbridled weight and force of Wagner’s work will enthrall audiences as they voyage through this mystical world. 
Three members of last season’s critically acclaimed production of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men return to Sarasota Opera next season.  Tenor Michael Hendrick, who sang the role of Lennie, returns to sing the role of the huntsman Erik; tenor Jon Jurgens, who sang the role of Curley, will sing the Steersman; and Maestro David Neely, a specialist of the German repertoire, will conduct.
Jérusalem by Giuseppe Verdi
Finally, opening March 8, 2014, will be the Sarasota Opera debut of Verdi’s Jérusalem , an epic tale of warriors, family rivalry, and jealousy that evolves into a story of forgiveness.   Based on his earlier opera, I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Jérusalem, which was Verdi’s introduction to Paris, abounds with rousing choruses, beautiful ensembles, and exciting arias.  This new production of Jérusalem will mark the 30th operatic installment of the Verdi Cycle and an experience you won't want to miss. 
Bass Kevin Short, a frequent performer at Sarasota Opera and who sang the role of Pagano in the 2011 production of I Lombardi, returns to sing the role of Roger, the count’s brother; soprano Danielle Walker, (Un giorno di regno, Carmen) will sing Hélène, the Count’s daughter; bass Jeffrey Beruan (Madama Butterfly, I Lombardi alla prima crocciata) sings the Papal Legate; and baritone Matthew Hanscom (Of Mice and Men, Turandot) will sing the Count of Toulouse.  Frequent Sarasota Opera stage director Martha Collins will direct and Maestro Victor DeRenzi will conduct. 
The four productions will run in rotation from February 8 through March 23, 2014.
Sarasota Opera Concert Series
In addition, Sarasota Opera will present four signature concerts designed to highlight great songs, arias and scenes beyond this season’s repertoire. 
On Tuesday, November 12, singers from the fall production of Die Fledermaus will present The Operetta Concert featuring some of operetta’s most popular melodies with piano accompaniment. 
On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Sarasota Opera will explore the past and present of American opera and vocal music at The American Opera Concert which will be performed by Sarasota Opera’s Apprentice and Studio Artists.  This concert will be performed with piano accompaniment. 
On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Sarasota Opera presents its annual Artists Choice Concert which has become a Sarasota Opera tradition!  Principal and Studio Artists will perform their choice of the best of Opera and Broadway on the Sarasota Opera main stage.  This concert will be performed with piano accompaniment. 
Finally, bringing the 2014 Winter Season to a close will be The Verdi Concert on Sunday, March 23, 2014.  With the end of the Verdi Cycle only three years away, The Verdi Concert is your chance to experience a mix of Verdi’s well known, not so well known, and hidden musical gems.  Featuring Sarasota Opera Soloists, Orchestra, and Chorus, this concert reaffirms the fact as to why Sarasota Opera is Verdi’s American Home!   
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 2013 Fall Season will feature Johann Strauss, Jr,’s Die Fledermaus followed by the Sarasota Youth Opera production of Britten’s The Little Sweep.  The 2014 Winter Festival will include Verdi’s Il trovatore, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and Verdi’s Jérusalem.  Subscriptions for the 2013-2014 Season are now on sale by calling (941) 328-1300 or visiting the Sarasota Opera Box Office.  Single tickets will go on sale August 1st online ( and September 3rd 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