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Sarasota Opera Announces 2017/18 Season

February 3, 2017

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


Sarasota Opera Announces 2017/2018 Season

2017 Fall Season
La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Rootabaga Country by Rachel J. Peters
(World Premiere/Sarasota Youth Opera)

2018 Winter Festival Season
Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini
Carmen by Georges Bizet
Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Tiefland by Eugene d’Albert

Sarasota Opera introduces its new series: Beyond Verdi: Italian Masters

2018 Winter Festival Season includes three Sarasota Opera premieres

Sarasota Youth Opera presents its 6th world premiere

Sarasota, FL
– Sarasota Opera announced its 2017/18 Fall and Winter Festival Season today at a press conference held on the Sarasota Opera House main stage in Sarasota, FL. The event was overseen by Maestro Victor DeRenzi, artistic director and principal conductor, and Richard Russell, Executive Director. Highlights of the upcoming season include the return of Giuseppe Verdi, the 6th Sarasota Youth Opera world premiere, and operas by composers such as Vincenzo Bellini whose music has never been heard from our stage.

In addition, Sarasota Opera will introduce the “Beyond Verdi: Italian Masters Series,” a new series dedicated to presenting operas by composers directly influenced by Giuseppe Verdi.

“The 2017/18 season brings our beloved Verdi back to Sarasota,” says Maestro Victor DeRenzi, artistic director and principal conductor of Sarasota Opera. “Through our new Italian Masters series, we will move beyond the works of Verdi to illustrate his legacy and influence by presenting the operas of composers directly impacted by the great master. Some of them rarely seen today.”

2017 Fall Season

La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
November 3, 5, 8, 14, 16, 19, 21

Sarasota Opera will open its 10th consecutive fall season with a re-mount of Verdi’s La traviata last seen in 2009. Violetta, a famed Parisian courtesan, has lived a life of lavish parties surrounded by influential friends. She abandons it all to be with her beloved Alfredo. When her past threatens his family’s honor, she must forsake her dream of love to save the honor of the one she loves. 

Rootabaga Country by Rachel J. Peters
Sung in English with English supertitles
November 11 and 12
A Sarasota Youth Opera World Premiere

The 2017 fall season will mark the world premiere of Sarasota Youth Opera’s 6th commission, Rootabaga Country by Rachel J. Peters. The work is an adaptation of selections from Carl Sandburg’s 1922 book Rootabaga Stories which is a collection of whimsical short stories created out of Sandburg’s desire to invent “American fairy tales” to match American childhood.

In the opera, the audience is introduced to three characters; Gimme the Ax and his two children, Please Gimme and Ax Me No Questions, who have sold their possessions as they prepare to travel to Rootabaga Country, a land in the sky. Alelia, the children’s mother who loved to visit Rootabaga Country as a young girl, had previously disappeared when they were small so this journey is the family’s way of connecting with her again. Once they arrive, they meet Potato Face Blind Man who stations himself at every town’s post office and leads the family on adventures meeting unique characters along the way.  Each journey provides the children with a connection to the mother they never knew and, at the conclusion of the story, the knowledge that families come in all shapes and sizes. 

2018 Winter Festival Season

Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
February 10, 14, 18, 20, 24
March 1, 4, 17, 23
Beyond Verdi: Italian Masters Series

Sarasota Opera will open the 2018 Winter Festival Season with Sarasota Opera premiere of Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini. Based on the 1731 novel L’histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost, this is a story of love at first sight between the Chevalier Des Grieux and the enchanting Manon Lescaut who is enroute to join a convent at the will of her father. The couple flee together to Paris, but when Des Grieux’s money runs out, Manon leaves him for a wealthy man. Yet, despite the jewels and parties, Manon’s love for Des Grieux is inextinguishable and will burn them in ways they cannot yet comprehend.

Carmen by Georges Bizet
Sung in French with English supertitles
February 17, 22, 25, 27
March 2, 7, 9, 13, 16, 22, 24

All-consuming, ill-fated passion rules the tumultuous love of a gypsy and a corporal in Georges Bizet’s Carmen which returns to the Sarasota Opera House stage after its sold-out run in 2012. Audience members will be lead on a journey starting at a cigarette factory in Seville, to the smugglers mountain hide-out, and finally to the bullring where Carmen and Don Jose’s story comes to its tragic end. Enjoy some of the most recognizable music in opera such as Carmen’s famous “Habañera” or feel your heart race to the famous “Toreador Song.”

Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
March 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 24
Sarasota Opera Premiere

Vincenzo Bellini brings passion, vengeance and defiance in his 8th opera, Norma , which premiered in 1831 and has become a tour-de-force role for famous sopranos throughtout history. Set in Roman-occupied ancient Gaul, a Druid priestess and a Roman official – Norma and Pollione – have fallen in love. Defying her sacred vows, Norma has borne him two children, but Pollione’s sights are now set on Adalgisa, a temple virgin. The scorned Norma contemplates murder, but as her heart battles between love and duty, she chooses to be cleansed by the flames of a sacrificial pyre.
This production will mark the first opera by Vincenzo Bellini performed at the Sarasota Opera House.

Tiefland by Eugen d’Albert
Sung in German with English supertitles
March 10, 15, 18, 21, 25
Sarasota Opera Premiere

The final installment of the 2018 Winter Festival Season brings the Sarasota Opera premiere of Tiefland by Eugen d’Albert. Based on the 1896 Catalan play Terra baixa (Lowlands), Marta is the unwilling mistress of a wealthy landowner, Sebastiano. To keep the poor girl near him while he takes a wealthy wife, Sebastiano marries Marta off to the shepherd Pedro. Unaware of her past, Pedro falls in love with her. When Marta’s awful secret comes to light, Pedro does whatever it takes to free his beloved from her misery.

This passionate example of early 20th century verismo opera is seen regularly in Germany and Austria, but there has only been two productions in the United States since 1908.

Ticket Information
Subscriptions for the 2017/2018 Season will be available for renewal March 1, 2017 both online at and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office. A date to secure new subscriptions will be forthcoming.

Single tickets for the 2017/2018 season go on sale online exclusively online at August 1st, 2017 and at the Sarasota Opera Box Office on September 1st, 2017. For more information on the 2017/2018 season, contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300 or visit in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Sarasota Opera will open its 58th consecutive season on Saturday, February 11th with the return of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. The season continues with the Sarasota Opera premiere of Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers and Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, and finally Italo Montemezzi’s The Love of Three Kings which was last seen in 2003.

Sarasota Opera launched a new website, , dedicated to the company’s 28-year Verdi Cycle. Features of the website include listings of all of Verdi’s operatic and non-operatic music performed by Sarasota Opera, including production information and photos; testimonial pages from, artists who performed in Verdi Cycle productions, as well as audience members who saw Verdi Cycle operas, scholarly resources for Verdi enthusiasts; and even a countdown clock tracking the time left to the completion of the Verdi Cycle.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the current season, visit or call the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300.     

Based on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera recently completed its 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