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Sarasota Opera Looks Ahead to the 2014 Winter Season


Sam Lowry, Communications Officer
(941) 328-1322

Sarasota Opera Look Ahead to the

2014 Winter Season


2014 Winter Festival

Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi
(New production)

The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini

The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner

Jérusalem by Giuseppe Verdi
(Sarasota Opera Premiere)

Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera is pleased to announce its 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.”

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 (Little Nemo in Slumberland, Vanessa).  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 mother’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.”

Soprano Reyna Carguill, who Sarasota Opera audiences will remember from her recent performances Elisabeth de Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlos and Lucrezia in I due Foscari, will return to sing the role of Leonora.  Recent engagements for Ms. Carguill include the 75th anniversary production of Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and the title role in Bellini’s Norma.  In addition to her return to Sarasota Opera, the 2013 season will include Ms. Carguill’s debut in the title role of Verdi’s Aida.  

Sharing the stage with Ms. Carguill will be three rising stars of the opera world who will make their Sarasota Opera debuts this season.  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.  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.  Rounding out the cast will be tenor Kirk Dougherty as the troubadour Manrico.  Mr. Dougherty’s recent performance of this same role was described as possessing “exquisite lyric and dramatic power.” 

Stephanie Sundine returns as stage director and Maestro Victor DeRenzi will conduct.  The opera will perform for 10 performances from February 8 – March 22, 2014.   

The Barber of Seville  by Gioachino Rossini 
One of the most beloved comedic works in the operatic repertory, The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini will return to Sarasota Opera’s stage on February 15th in a revival of the company’s 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 (Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly) whose recent performances at Sarasota Opera were followed by performances of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, returns to sing the role of the scheming barber, Figaro.; tenor Hak Soo Kim (A King for a Day, Rigoletto) will return as Count Almaviva; and making her Sarasota Opera debut, mezzo-soprano Chrytal E. Williams, whose recent appearances include Glimmerglass Opera and the Aspen Music Festival, will sing Rosina. 

Stage Director William Gustafson, who 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 opera will run for 9 performances from February 15 – March 21, 2014.      

The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner
Legends of the sea come to life on March 1, 2014 as Sarasota Opera remounts its David P. Gordon production of The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner last seen in 2000.  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 noted Wagnerians return to the Sarasota Opera stage to bring Wagner’s powerful music to life.   Sarasota Opera favorite, bass Kevin Short (A King for a Day, I Lombardi alla prima crociata) will sing the title role of the cursed Dutchman.  Mr. Short recently performed this same role with Indianapolis Opera, the Stadttheater in Bern, Switzerland, and at the Split Summer Festival in Croatia.  Tenor Michael Hendrick (Of Mice and Men, May Night) returns to sing the role of the huntsman Erik after his critically hailed performance as Lennie in last season’s production of Of Mice and Men; and former Apprentice and Studio Artist, soprano Dara Hobbs, returns to make her role debut as Senta.  Based in Europe since 2007, Ms. Hobbs is quickly establishing herself as a leading dramatic soprano with upcoming engagements at Opera Frankfurt, Bonn Opera, and the Bayreuther Festspiele, Wagner’s own opera house. 

Maestro David Neely (Of Mice and Men, Vanessa, The Crucible), a specialist of the German repertoire, will conduct and Tom Diamond will direct.  The opera will run for 7 performances from March 1 – March 23, 2014.

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 production of Jérusalem will mark the 30th operatic installment of the Verdi Cycle and a rare operatic experience you won't want to miss. 

Returning for his 10th season with Sarasota Opera, bass Young Bok Kim (Turandot, Rigoletto) will sing the role of Roger, the count’s brother; soprano Danielle Walker (Die Fledermaus, 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.

Popular Sarasota Opera stage director Martha Collins (The Little Sweep, A King for a Day, Little Nemo in Slumberland) will direct and Maestro Victor DeRenzi will conduct.  The opera will run for 6 performances from March 8 – March 22, 2014.

Sarasota Opera Concert Series

In addition, Sarasota Opera will present three signature concerts designed to highlight great songs, arias and scenes beyond this season’s repertoire. 

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 why Sarasota Opera is Verdi’s American Home!

All concerts are performed at the Sarasota Opera House.  Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (941) 328-1300.  


Sarasota Opera’s 2014 Winter Season

Il trovatore  
An opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano
Based on the play El trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Sarasota Opera House
Performances (10):  February 8, 12, 16, 22, 25, 27 and  March 2, 7, 14, 22

Leonora:  Reyna Carguill
Azucena:  Margaret Mezzacappa
Manrico:  Kirk Dougherty
Count di Luna:  David Pershall
Ferrando:  Jeffrey Beruan

Conductor:  Victor DeRenzi
Stage Director:  Stephanie Sundine
Scenic Designer: Michael Schweikardt
Costume Coordinator: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer: Ken Yunker

†  Sarasota Opera Debut


The Barber of Seville
Melodramma Buffo in Two Acts
Poetry by Cesare Sterbini
Based on the play Le Barbier de Séville by Pierry-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Sarasota Opera House
Performances (9):  February 15, 18, 20, 23, 26  March 7, 15, 21

Rosina:   Chrystal E. Williams
Count Almaviva: Hak Soo Kim
Figaro:   Marco Nisticò
Bartolo:   Steven Condy
Basilio:   Matthew Burns  

Conductor:  Marcello Cormio
Stage Director:  William Gustafson
Scenic Designer: Jeffrey W. Dean
Costume Designer: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer: Ken Yunker

†  Sarasota Opera Debut


The Flying Dutchman
Romantic Opera in Three Acts
Music and Text by Richard Wagner
Sung in German with English supertitles

Sarasota Opera House
Performances (7):  March 1, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 23

Senta:   Dara Hobbs
Erik:   Michael Hendrick
The Dutchman:  Kevin Short
Daland:   Harold Wilson

Conductor:  David Neely
Stage Director:  Tom Diamond
Scenic Designer: David P. Gordon
Costume Coordinator: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer: Ken Yunker

†  Sarasota Opera Debut

Sarasota Opera Premiere/Verdi Cycle Opera
Opera  in Four Acts
Sung in French with English supertitles
Performances (6):  March 8, 11, 13, 16, 19, 22

Hélène:   Danielle Walker
Gaston:   Heath Huberg
Count of Toulouse: Matthew Hanscom
Roger:   Young Bok Kim
Papal Legate:  Jeffrey Beruan

Conductor:  Victor DeRenzi
Stage Director:  Martha Collins
Scenic Designer: Jeffrey W. Dean
Costume Designer: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer: Ken Yunker


Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is celebrating 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 features 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 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