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Sarasota Opera 2017 Winter Festival Season opens February 11th

January 31, 2017

Samuel Lowry, Director of Audience Development
(941) 328-1322
slowry@sarasotaopera.org  

IMAGES:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/h57u0yr0qyk1dms/AADjGAR8uuy4tE2PAxGrB9Aua?dl=0

Sarasota Opera 2017 Winter Festival Season Opens Saturday, February 11th

Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
The Italian Girl in Algiers by Giaochino Rossini
Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc
The Love of Three Kings by Italo Montemezzi

Cast Change Alert:
Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez replaces Leann Sandel-Pantaleo in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites


Sarasota Opera –Thrilling music, exciting new voices, and compelling theater will launch Sarasota Opera into its 58th Winter Festival Season on Saturday, February 11th, 2017. This will be the company’s first season in 28 years to not include any operas by Giuseppe Verdi.

This past fall, Sarasota Opera launched an exciting new venture entitled “Sarasota Firsts” in which the company will produce operas never before seen on the Sarasota Opera House stage. For the 2017 Winter Festival Season, Sarasota Opera will present two operas, The Italian Girl in Algiers and Dialogues of the Carmelites , in association with this new series as well as re-mount operas that have been beloved by Sarasota Opera audiences for years. This past fall, Sarasota Opera inaugurated the new “Sarasota Firsts” initiative with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale .

“In addition to introducing new works to our audience through the Sarasota Firsts program, we will be featuring new artists as well,” says Maestro Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor at Sarasota Opera. “We are happy to bring back many of the talented singers who are audience favorites, as well as to welcome new artists to our stage.”

Executive Director Richard Russell commented that “we hope this is a fascinating and diverse season for our audience. Although many of the works are new to our repertoire, some are operatic favorites like Don Pasquale and The Italian Girl in Algiers, and others are more rarely heard, and yet have proven popular with opera audiences like Dialogues of the Carmelites and The Love of Three Kings.”

Starting at just $19, subscriptions and single tickets for the 2017 Winter Festival Season are available online at  www.sarasotaopera.org , by phone or in-person at the Sarasota Opera Box Office.

2017 Winter Festival Season

Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Sarasota Opera’s 58th season will open on February 11, 2017 with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly . Set in Japan around 1900, the story follows a young geisha Cio-Cio San, affectionately known as Madama Butterfly, who is swept off her feet by the American Naval Officer, B.F. Pinkerton. Leaving her with promises of returning one day, Butterfly waits faithfully for his return which comes three years later, but with unexpected disappointments and a tragic end. Filled with Puccini’s most expansive melodies, Madama Butterfly is at the top of a very short list of most performed and best loved operas of all time.

Making her Sarasota Opera debut in the title role will be soprano Joanna Parisi. Ms. Parisi’s career has already taken her to leading opera houses in Europe, Mexico and around the United States, as well as her being named one of “The Next Generation of Great Opera Singers” by New York’s WQXR Classical. Also making his U.S. debut in this production will be Italian tenor Antonio Corianò as B.F. Pinkerton. Mr. Corianò has previously appeared at the Cairo Opera House, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and La Scala in Milan. And returning artist, mezzo-soprano Laurel Semerdjian, a former Sarasota Opera apprentice artist who has sung with Bellevue Opera and Pittsburgh Opera, will make her principal artist debut as Butterfly’s maid Suzuki.

Stage Director John Basil, who previously directed productions of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and The Sicilian Vespers , returns to direct and Victor DeRenzi will conduct. 

The Italian Girl in Algiers by Gioachino Rossini
Before The Barber of Seville or La Cenerentola came Rossini’s rollicking comedy The Italian Girl in Algiers which makes its Sarasota Opera debut this coming season. Lindoro’s attempts at escape from Mustafà, the Bey of Algiers, have been thwarted and, to top it all off, he is now faced with a hand-me-down bride since his beloved Isabella has gone missing. But a unique turn of events brings Isabella right where she needs to be to save her lost fiancé. And she knows exactly what to do to get them out of this bind.

Two artists make their main stage debut this season in this new Sarasota production. Having sung leading roles at the Théâtre du Châtelet, La Scala and around the United States, mezzo-soprano Tara Venditti appears as the heroine Isabella and Italian baritone Bruno Taddia, who has bowed at the Royal Opera House in Convent Garden, La Fenice in Venice, and the Ravenna Festival with conductor Ricardo Muti, will sing Isabella’s unwanted suitor Taddeo. Returning this season will be tenor Hak Soo Kim as Lindoro and bass Harold Wilson (Flying Dutchman, Fidelio) as Mustafà, the Bey of Algiers. 

Rossini specialist Maestro Anthony Barrese (The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni) returns to conduct, scenic designer Michael Schweikardt (Fidelio, Turandot) will create the sets for this new production, and director Mark Freiman makes his Sarasota debut as stage director.

Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc
Based on real events and set during the French Revolution’s infamous “Reign of Terror”, Poulenc’s opera Dialogues of the Carmelites tells the story of Blanche de la Force as she goes against the wishes of her aristocratic family and dedicates her life to God’s service by joining a Carmelite order. The revolution threatens to destroy all that is most sacred to the nuns. Blanche’s faith is put to the ultimate test to choose between life and following her sacred calling through to the end.

Several acclaimed artists will make their Sarasota Opera main stage debuts in this production. Soprano Sandra Lopez, who makes her Sarasota Opera debut as Blanche, has sung leading roles at some of the world’s most celebrated opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, Venice’s Gran Teatro la Fenice, and the Salzburg Festival. Mezzo-soprano Olivia Vote, also making her Sarasota Opera debut as Mother Marie, has just returned to the U.S. after completing a two year guest artist contract at the Zürich Opera House. Other company debuts include soprano Claire Coolen as Constance and tenor Sean Christensen as The Chevalier, Blanche’s brother. Returning after her triumphal turn in the title role Verdi’s Aida last season, soprano Michelle Johnson (Aida, Don Carlos) will sing Madame Lidoine.

Mezzo-soprano Leann Sandel-Pantaleo, who was originally scheduled to sing the role of Madame de Croissy, has withdrawn from the production due to personal reasons. Replacing her will be mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez who will make her Sarasota Opera debut in this production. Hailed for “her buttery, rich colored mezzo,” Ms. Chavez has garnered rave reviews as a leading artist with companies such as New York City Opera – Renaissance, Heartland Opera, and Opera San Jose in addition to performing the role of Elizabeth Proctor in Robert Ward’s The Crucible in over 40 European countries.

Maestro David Neely (Of Mice and Men, Vanessa) will return to conduct and Martha Collins (The Battle of Legnano, Tosca) will direct. This new production will feature sets by scenic designer Robert Little. 

The Love of Three Kings by Italo Montemezzi
One of opera’s most passionate stories has music to match in this early 20th century masterpiece. Forced to marry Manfredo, the son of the man who conquered her country, Princess Fiora’s heart belongs to Avito. The two lovers have been meeting in secret, but they are playing a dangerous game, as the blind King Archibaldo grows suspicious. Last seen at Sarasota Opera in 2003, the rich orchestral lines and expressive vocalism will make for an exciting night of theater.
 
Making his principal artist debut will be tenor Matthew Vickers as Avito. A former Studio Artist, Mr. Vickers won international acclaim last season for stepping in at the last minute for an ailing colleague as Arrigo in Verdi’s The Battle of Legnano. Mr. Vickers has previously sung leading roles with OperaDelaware and Minnesota Concert Opera. Returning artists include soprano Elizabeth Tredent (principal artist debut) as the Princess Fiora, Marco Nisticò (Aida, Don Carlos) as Manfredo, and bass Kevin Short (Don Carlos, The Flying Dutchman) as the blind King Archibaldo.

This new production will be designed by scenic designer David P. Gordon (Aida, The Golden Cockerel). Victor DeRenzi will conduct and Stephanie Sundine (Aida, Don Carlos) will direct. 

Sarasota Opera Concert Series

Fall Opera Showcase
Sunday, November 6, 2016, 1:30pm
Tickets: from $10
This concert will feature the fall opera season artists performing some of opera’s favorite arias and ensembles.

Artists Choice Concert
Sunday, March 19, 2017, 7:30pm
Tickets: from $10
A Sarasota Opera tradition! Enjoy principal and studio artists as they perform their choice of the best of opera and song.

Spring Opera Spectacular
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 7:30pm
Tickets: from $19
All great things must come to an end, so let’s make it unforgettable. This concert will feature favorite 2017 Winter Festival Artists performing arias, scenes, and ensembles with the Sarasota Opera Chorus and Orchestra under the direction of Victor DeRenzi.

Become a Sarasota Opera Subscriber and save more than $100 on the cost of individual tickets. Subscriptions for the 2017 Winter Fetival Season are available both online at  www.sarasotaopera.org and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office. For more information or to secure your subscription for the 2017 Winter Festival Season, contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300 or visit in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
February 11, 16, 19m, 22, 25, 28
March 5m, 10, 17, 21, 25
A Sarasota Opera production
Opening Night performance begins at 7pm
Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:
Cio-Cio San:  Joanna Parisi*
Suzuki:   Laurel Semerdjian
B.F. Pinkerton:  Antonio Corianò*
Conductor:  Victor DeRenzi
Stage Director:  John Basil
Scenic Designer: David P. Gordon
Costume Coordinator: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
*Sarasota Opera debut 

The Italian Girl in Algiers by Gioachino Rossini
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
February 18, 21, 23, 26m
March 3, 8, 18, 25m
A Sarasota First production
Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:
Isabella:  Tara Venditti
Lindoro:  Hak Soo Kim
Taddeo:  Bruno Taddia*
Mustafà:  Harold Wilson
Conductor:  Anthony Barrese
Stage Director:  Mark Freiman  
Scenic Designer: Michael Schweikardt
Costume Designer: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
*Sarasota Opera debut


Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc
Sung in French with English supertitles
March 4, 7, 12m, 15, 18m, 24, 2017
A Sarasota First production
Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:
Blanche:  Sandra Lopez*
Constance:  Claire Coolen•
Madame de Croissy: Lisa Chavez*
Madame Lidoine: Michelle Johnson
Mother Marie:  Olivia Vote
The Chevalier:  Sean Christensen•
Conductor:  Davie Neely
Stage Director:  Martha Collins
Scenic Designer: Robert Little*
Costume Coordinator: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
*Sarasota Opera debut
• Sarasota Opera Studio Artist

The Love of Three Kings by Italo Montemezzi
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
March 11, 14, 16, 19m, 22, 26m 2017
A new Sarasota Opera production
Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:
Fiora:   Elizabeth Tredent
Avito:   Matthew Vickers
Flaminio:  Dane Suarez•
Manfredo:  Marco Nisticò
Archibaldo:  Kevin Short
Conductor:  Victor DeRenzi
Stage Director:  Stephanie Sundine
Scenic Designer: David P. Gordon
Costume Designer: Howard Tsvi Kaplan
*Sarasota Opera debut
• Sarasota Opera Studio Artist

ABOUT SARASOTA OPERA
Based on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera recently 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  www.sarasotaopera.org