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September 18, 2013

Sam Lowry, Director of Audience Development
(941) 328-1322

Sarasota Opera and Selby Public Library to Host a Community Wide Celebration of Giuseppe Verdi

Sarasota, FL – During the month of October Sarasota Opera, known as “Verdi’s American Home”, will join in the worldwide celebration honoring the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi.  In partnership with Selby Public Library, Sarasota Opera has planned an innovative program of public talks and free concerts including a big birthday celebration Thursday, October 10, the day of the composer’s birth.  These events will take place at both the Selby Public Library and the Sarasota Opera House.

Verdi 200th Celebration SM
Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th Birthday Celebration – Thursday, October 10, 2013
This will be a birthday celebration not to miss!  The celebration will begin at 4pm at the Selby Public Library (1331 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236) with the unveiling of special exhibits and a performance by Sarasota Opera artists in the rotunda of the Library.  Immediately following, guests will be invited to follow the red carpet out the south entrance of the Library and walk across the street to the Sarasota Opera House to continue the celebration. 

Beginning at 5pm, the party will continue offering guests a full access pass to the Sarasota Opera House.  The event will include backstage tours, performances by Sarasota Opera artists and Saraosta Youth Opera, meet and greets with Sarasota Opera’s production team, and special kids only activities.  Towards the end of the evening, guests will be invited into the William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre to join in a birthday tribute to Sarasota Opera’s favorite operatic composer, Giuseppe Verdi, with a community sing of his famous chorus “Va, pensiero” from his opera Nabucco.  Music, birthday cake, door prizes, refreshments, AND lots of fun!

From Page to Stage
A series of free public talks will be presented by Sarasota Opera staff members in honor of three important 2013 anniversaries:  the 200th birthdays of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, and the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten.  These talks are presented in partnership with the Selby Public Library and will be held in the Geldbart Auditorium at the Library.  

Wednesday, October 9  10:30am – Maestro Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director of Sarasota Opera, will present a talk on Sarasota Opera’s Verdi Cycle which is due to complete in 2016.  Upon completion of The Verdi Cycle, Sarasota Opera will have the distinction of being the only opera company in the world to have performed every published note Verdi wrote. 

Wednesday, October 16  10:30am – Maestro Victor DeRenzi will moderate a screening and discussion of the documentary Tosca’s Kiss.  Produced in 1984, Tosca’s Kiss profiles residents of the Casa Verdi, a retirement home for retired Italian opera singers in Milan established by Verdi in 1902.  Many of the residents had well established careers at opera houses around the world and spend their days at the Casa Verdi re-living and re-enacting the operatic roles that made them famous.  The recent movie Quartet was patterned after the Casa Verdi and its famous residents.  This is a FREE event.

Wednesday, October 23  10:30am – Executive Director Richard Russell will offer a talk on the operatic world of Richard Wagner focusing on Sarasota Opera’s 2014 winter production of his opera The Flying Dutchman    
Wednesday, October 30  10:30am – Samuel Lowry, Director of Audience Development, and Maestro Jesse Martins, Sarasota Youth Opera Music Director, will offer a talk on the operatic world of composer Benjamin Britten.  This presentation will include musical excerpts from Britten’s children’s opera The Little Sweep which will be presented by the Sarasota Youth Opera on November 9th and 10th.  

The Selby Public Library is located at 1331 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236. 

Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is approaching its 55th 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