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Sarasota Opera Announces Cast Change in Puccini's TOSCA

March 24, 2015

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

Sarasota Opera Announces Cast Change in Puccini’s Tosca

Todd Thomas returns to Sarasota Opera to sing Baron Scarpia

Kara Shay Thomson celebrates 100th performance of Tosca March 25th

Sarasota, FL – Longtime Sarasota Opera favorite, baritone Todd Thomas, will return to Sarasota Opera on March 25th to assume the role of Baron Scarpia for the final two performances (March 25th and 27th) in this season’s production of Puccini’s Tosca. Mark Walters, who has won critical acclaim this season for his performance in the role, will have his last performance on Sunday, March 22nd.

Todd Thomas
Baritone Todd Thomas

“Mark Walter has given a fabulous performance this season,” says Richard Russell, Sarasota Opera’s Executive Director. “In planning this season we found that he couldn’t sing the last two performances due to a previous commitment, so we were delighted that Todd Thomas was available to finish the run. He is a longtime favorite of the audience and ours, and Scarpia is one of his signature roles.

Mr. Thomas made his debut with Sarasota Opera in the 1993 production of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West and has since returned to perform leading roles in 6 subsequent productions. He last performed the role of Scarpia with Sarasota Opera in 2004. Other appearances include leading roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, and New York City Opera.

Mr. Thomas’ first performance on March 25th will coincide with another special occasion. Soprano Kara Shay Thomson, who has returned to the title role of Tosca this season, will mark her 100th performance of the role on Wednesday, March 25th.

Soprano Kara Shay Thomson

“I never thought I would have the chance to sing something I love so many times,” says Ms. Thomson. “It is a true gift and I will treasure singing my 100th performance right here in Sarasota surrounded by my Sarasota Opera family.  I could not imagine sharing this with any other opera company in the world. Thank you to Maestro Victor DeRenzi for his unending encouragement and for infusing this production with his passion for Puccini's masterpiece.”

Ms. Thomson debuted the role of Floria Tosca at Sarasota Opera in 2009 and has since gone onto singe the role at companies around the United States including Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, and Utah Opera.

Information and tickets for the 2015 Winter Festival Season can be found online at or by calling the Sarasota Opera Box Office at
(941) 328-1300. 

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