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Sarasota Opera Takes to the Airwaves with Verdi's "Don Carlos"

February 25, 2015

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

Sarasota, FL – On Thursday, February 26th, at 11am EST, Maestro Victor DeRenzi and principal artists from Sarasota Opera will present a live program of excerpts from this season’s production of the origninal Paris version of Verdi’s Don Carlos on Classical WSMR 89.1 FM hosted by Russell Gant. Mr. Gant will interview Maestro DeRenzi about the upcoming production, which opens on Saturday, March 7th, as well as Sarasota Opera’s ongoing Verdi Cycle.

Selections will include such famous arias as Eboli’s “O Don Fatal” and Élisabeth’s Act V aria "Toi qui sus le néant. Artists will include Jonathan Burton (Don Carlos), Michelle Johnson (Élisabeth de Valois), Mary Phillips (Eboli), and Marco Nisticò (Rodrigue). They will be accompanied on the piano by John Spencer, IV.

The program can be accessed on both 89.1FM in Sarasota, 103.9FM in Tampa, and online at:

Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi
In the penultimate year of its acclaimed Verdi Cycle, Sarasota Opera will present Verdi's epic Don Carlos in the original Paris version which premiered in 1867.  Sarasota Opera previously performed the revised four-act La Scala version in 2009.  Verdi's powerful drama recounts the ill-fated attraction between Don Carlos and Élisabeth, the wife of his father, King Philip of Spain. Set in Renaissance Spain dominated by the inquisition, this powerful drama is one of opera’s great masterpieces.

Performances are March 7, 12, 15m, 18, 21m, and 24. Evening performances begin at 6:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm.

Soprano Michelle Johnson, whose career trajectory has taken off since winning the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, will make her Sarasota Opera debut and role debut as Élisabeth de Valois. Ms. Johnson’s recent appearances include leading roles at both Glimmerglass Opera and Opera Philadelphia amongst many others.

Returning artists include tenor Jonathan Burton who sings the title role and mezzo-soprano Mary Phillips who will sing the role of Eboli. Mr. Burton won great acclaim for his debut with Sarasota Opera in 2013 as Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot . Other appearances have included leading roles at Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman. Ms. Phillips, described by the Vancouver Sun as a “singer/actress of power and stature,” will mark her fourth production of Don Carlos with Sarasota Opera having performed the role of Princess Eboli previously with Austin, Vancouver, and Canadian Operas. Other acclaims include appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Dallas Opera.

Reprising his role from the 2009 production, baritone Marco Nisticò singing the role of Rodrigue. Mr. Nisticò made his debut with Sarasota Opera in 2008 and has since returned in leading roles such as Rigoletto, Tonio in Pagliacci, and Figaro in The Barber of Seville. Mr. Nisticò has also recently been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Rome Opera, and the Teatro Regio in Torino, Italy.

For more information or to secure tickets for the 2015 Winter Festival Season, visit online at . You can also contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300 or visit in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236. The box office is open daily from 10am – 4pm. On all performance dates, the Box Office will be open from 10am until the end of the first intermission.

Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is in its 56th 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.

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