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Sarasota Opera Receives $50,000 Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

November 8, 2013

Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322

Sarasota Opera receives $50,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Funding will support funding for film projection equipment for the Opera House

Sarasota - Sarasota Opera was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation which will complete the necessary funding for film projection equipment for the Opera House.  The equipment will enable Sarasota Opera to create an opera broadcast and film series during the off-season, expanding Sarasota Opera's programming from the fall and winter season to year-around.  In addition, the increased technical capacity will allow rental partners the opportunity to increase their programming possibilities.

In addition this new capability will add to Sarasota Opera’s extensive educational offerings and give it more flexibility to engage new audiences in opera.

Sarasota Opera audiences are often asking for more programming,” according to Executive Director Richard Russell. “With this added capability, we will be able to increase our offerings and provide access at times when we are typically dark.  We look forward to expanded activities and to providing more capabilities to our community partners.”

Summer Opera Series
Sarasota Opera will partner with Emerging Pictures, a specialty film company that exhibits cultural programming, art films, documentaries, foreign language films, and independent cinema, to showcase the Opera in Cinema series:  exceptional European opera presented in HD.  Initially, the summer series will include eight opera or other performance broadcasts during Sarasota Opera's 2014 off-season (April - September).  These broadcasts will be incorporated into Sarasota Opera's subscription series and single ticket sales with the goal of attracting audiences to the Opera House multiple times during the off-season.                   

Additional support for this project includes a grant of $60,000 from the William and Marie Selby Foundation as well as an $18,000 "Building Opera Audiences" grant from Opera America, the service organization for opera companies in the U.S. and Canada. 

About Gulf Coast
Together with its donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital.  Since then, it has welcomed more than 550 charitable funds established by generous donors and invested more than $160 million in the community through grants in the areas of health and human services, education, civic and economic development, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at

About Sarasota Opera
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 and Single Tickets for the 2013-2014 Season are now on sale by calling (941) 328-1300, online at, or visiting the Sarasota Opera 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