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Sarasota Youth Opera Now Enrolling for 2016 Summer Camp

April 26, 2016

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


Sarasota Youth Opera Now Enrolling for 2016 Summer Camp


"My experience has been like no other that I have ever had.  But, the best part, was meeting new friends that I can share my love of opera with." -  Michael G., Sarasota Youth Opera Camp participant

"I can say that we're so glad to have signed up and joined in the fun!" -
  Nanette Almeter, Sarasota Youth Opera parent

"I think the camp is so well organized and all the staff is very professional and loving with the kids. There is a very positive energy around it." –
  2015 Camp Parent

"My child came home wanting to watch/listen to more operas! Thank you for instilling a love for music and for all of your hard work with the camp!" -
  2015 Camp Parent

Sarasota, FL
- Enrollment is now open for young people ages 8 -18 for Sarasota Youth Opera’s 2016 Summer Camp to be held June 13 – July 1, 2016. The annual three-week program will run Monday thru Friday from 9 am – 12:30pm for campers ages 8 – 10, and 10am – 4pm for campers ages 11 – 18. All skill levels welcome; no audition is required. All activities are at the Sarasota Opera House located at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota.

The Summer Camp, hosted by the Sarasota Youth Opera program, currently the most comprehensive Youth Opera program in the United States, promotes hands-on exploration of all aspects of opera in a structured, but informal atmosphere, offering classes in music, acting, opera appreciation, design, and technical production. Opportunities are also provided for campers to experience the magic of opera outside the Opera House through field trips and arts group collaborations. The final day will showcase the participants’ work during the program in an on-stage demonstration featuring all campers. Campers will bring their own lunches, but a daily snack will be provided.

“Our camp’s hands-on approach with not only singing, but all aspects of opera provides a phenomenal opportunity for young performers to really explore” says Ben Jewell-Plocher, Manager of Educational Activities.  “We are committed to placing our campers in active learning situations with established professionals in the industry:  instrumentalists, stage directors, costume designers, set builders, and many others.  It is really more than a camp; it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

Jesse Martins, Youth Opera Music Director, echoes Mr. Jewell-Plocher’s statement. “We believe the 360 degree, inside-out approach helps to not only demystify opera but also helps our youth opera campers realize that opera is a very powerful art form.”

A typical day includes sessions in singing, sets, wigs, make-up, costumes, and opera appreciation. All sessions are led by Sarasota Opera artists, directors, instrumentalists, and stage crew. On the final day of camp, families are invited to join the fun and participate alongside their camper in class and attend a final demonstration on the Sarasota Opera House stage. Musically, this year’s camp will focus on the upcoming Sarasota Youth Opera fall production which will be the U.S. premiere of The Secret World of Og by Canadian composer Dean Burry as well as choral highlights from the upcoming 2016/17 Sarasota Opera season. 

No audition is necessary to participate. Tuition for the program is $250 for half day campers and $350 for full day campers. Scholarships are available. The deadline for registration is Friday, May 13, 2016.  Before and after camp care is available for a nominal fee. 
For more information and to register, go to  or call Ben Jewell-Plocher at (941) 366-8450, ext. 249.

Based on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera has just completed its 57th consecutive season and the final season of the company’s internationally acclaimed Verdi Cycle making it the only company in the world to have performed every work of Giuseppe Verdi. 

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 and administrative leadership of Executive Director Richard Russell since 2012. 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