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Sarasota Opera to Commission New Youth Opera

March 27, 2015

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


Sarasota Opera Announces Request for Submission for New Youth Opera

Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera is pleased to invite composers to submit works for a new opera for possible production in November 2017 by the Sarasota Youth Opera program, one of the most comprehensive programs in the United States. This invitation is open to any living composer and librettist, of any age, who are United States citizens. Submission deadline is Wednesday, September 30, 2015, at 5pm.

Follow this link for more information and to download a Submission Form:

Little Nemo
 Sarasota Youth Opera production of Little Nemo in Slumberland. Photo by Rod Millington. 

“Sarasota Opera is dedicated to performing classic works of opera in a manner that is true to the composer’s intentions,” says Maestro Victor DeRenzi, Artistic and Principal Conductor. “In the years that we have been doing productions with our Youth Opera, I have found there are few works of substantial musical value for young people to perform. In our desire to increase the repertoire we are looking for music that is rooted in the classic music style, reflecting how that music is written today without the influence of other genres such musical theater, jazz or other popular idioms.”  

Maestro DeRenzi continues, “The Youth Opera was begun as a way to get young people interested in art and music. The works we are looking for should help achieve that goal and be musically sophisticated enough to appeal to adults while still accessible to children.”

Criteria for work is as follows:
• English Libretto
• Approximately 60 minutes of music. One Intermission optional.
• 10 to 15 solo youth roles in treble voice
• Optional 1 to 3 adult players. Adults may portray more than one character.
• SSAB youth chorus ensemble that is featured predominately throughout the work
• Chamber orchestration of no more than 13 instruments, may include piano
• Roles with specific physical requirements are best avoided
• Entirely sung (minimal spoken narration or dialog optional)

• Composer:  $15,000
• Librettist:  $10,000
• Composer/Librettist:  $20,000

• Piano-Vocal format
• Minimum 30% complete (approximately 20 minutes of music)
• Submission must include at least one (1) chorus ensemble number
• Each composer may submit up to three (3) works
• Manuscripts should be legible if hand-written
• Submission should include:
o Submission Form
o Letter of Introduction
o Resume
o PDF of PV and Libretto
o Each score must have a title page containing characters, voice types, and brief synopsis for proposed work
o If submitted in hard copy, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for return
o Inclusion of a recording of work-shopped scenes, full opera, or midi recording is optional

• Copyright clearance must obtained prior to entry
• Submissions must be unpublished works not currently accepted by a publisher for publication or rental
• Works may have been work shopped, but should not have received a premiere performance
• Works should show an awareness of the practical realities of rehearsal and performance
• Sarasota Opera will hold the rights for the premiere performances and one subsequent production

If no entry is deemed appropriate, the panel reserves the right to not make a selection and no fee will be awarded.

Submissions May Be Sent To:
Sarasota Opera
New Youth Works Submission
61 N. Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236


• March 1, 2015:  Announce
• September 2015:  Submission Deadline
• December 2015:  Finalists Announced
• May 2016:  Finalists Submitted Completed PV
• August 2016:  Final Selection(s) Announced – Winner(s) Complete Orchestration
• November 2017:  Premiere Production

About Sarasota Youth Opera
Since 1984, Sarasota Youth Opera (SYO) has given young people age 8 to 18 an opportunity to experience the magic of opera through participation in after-school choruses, Sarasota Opera mainstage productions, summer workshops, and the Youth Opera's own full-scale productions. Regarded as a leader in the commissioning and producing of works for young voices, SYO is the only program in the United States committed to presenting annual, full-scale opera productions for young voices with professional musicians, direction, and costume and scenic design.

Since 1986, five commissioned world premieres and over 20 additional youth opera productions have been presented. Past commissions include:
2012 – Little Nemo in Slumberland  (music by Daron Hagen, libretto by J.D. McClatchy)
2004 – The Language of Birds (music by John Kennedy, libretto by Peter Krask)
1998 – Eye of Ra (music by Tom Suta, libretto by Diana Colson)
1993 – Her Lightness (music and libretto by Polly Pen)
1989 – Deadline 

Our most recent commission, Little Nemo in Slumberland, featured over 106 young people and used a ground-breaking projection technology called SCRIBE (Self-Contained Rapidly Integratable Background Environment) to bring Winsor McCay’s comic strips to life. Since it’s 2012 premiere, Little Nemo has been performed by The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, Tulsa Youth Opera, La Sierra University, and Pittsburgh High School for the Performing Arts.

In November 2014, SYO presented Dean Burry’s The Hobbit. Based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, this classic adventure was brought to life with a cast of over 95 young people and 12 professional musicians on the stage of the Sarasota Opera House. Both aforementioned operas performed to sold-out audiences.

Based in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is currently in its 56th consecutive season of bring grand opera to the southwest Florida gulf coast.  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 underwent a $20-million renovation and rehabilitation in 2007-2008 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