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2017 Press Releases

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Sarasota Opera Announces Casting for the 2017/2018 Fall and Winter Season

July 6, 2017

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

Sarasota Opera Announces Casting for the 2017/2018 Fall and Winter Season

2017 Fall Season

La traviata  by Giuseppe Verdi

Rootabaga Country  by Rachel J. Peters

(World Premiere/Sarasota Youth Opera)

2018 Winter Season

Manon Lescaut  by Giacomo Puccini

Carmen  by Georges Bizet

Norma  by Vincenzo Bellini

Tiefland  by Eugen d’Albert

 

Single Tickets on sale ONLINE Monday, August 1st

 

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

 

Sarasota Youth Opera presents its 6 th  world premiere

 

Sarasota, FL – World premieres, new productions, and exciting artist debuts will make the 59 th season at Sarasota Opera a season not to miss. Highlights of the upcoming year include the return of Giuseppe Verdi, the 6 th Sarasota Youth Opera world premiere, and operas by composers such as Vincenzo Bellini and Eugen D’Albert whose operas have not been heard on our stage.

 

In addition, last season Sarasota Opera introduced 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 Verdi back to Sarasota,” says Victor DeRenzi, artistic director and principal conductor of Sarasota Opera. “We are happy to bring back many of our audience’s favorite artists as well as welcome new performers to our stage.”

 

Executive Director Richard Russell echoed Maestro DeRenzi’s sentiments saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Verdi back home to Sarasota. However, we are also excited to introduce new composers and works we hope our audience will find intriguing and exciting.”

 

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 10 th  fall season with 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. 

 

After enjoying critical success in her mainstage debut last season as Fiora in The Love of Three Kings, soprano Elizabeth Tredent returns to make her role debut as Violetta. Tenor David Guzman, who has been seen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Theatre Châtelet in Paris, and Houston Grand Opera, will make his Sarasota Opera debut as Alfredo Germont. Returning this season will be baritone Marco Nisticò (The Love of Three Kings, Aida) as Giorgio Germont, and mezzo-soprano Laurel Smerdjian (Madama Butterfly) as Flora Bervoix.

 

Victor DeRenzi will conduct and Stephanie Sundine (The Love of Three Kings, Aida) returns to direct.                     

 

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 6 th  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, 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.  

 

Youth Opera Music Director Jesse Martins (The Secret World of Og, The Hobbit) will conduct, stage director Martha Collins (The Secret World of Og, Dialogues of the Carmelites) returns to direct, and resident Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan will design the costumes. Making her Sarasota Opera debut, New York City based scenic designer Sheryl Liu will design the sets for this world premiere.

 

2018 Winter 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 Premiere


Sarasota Opera will open the 2018 Winter Festival Season with the Sarasota Opera premiere of Manon Lescaut  by Giacomo Puccini. Based on the 1731 novel The Story of Chevalier des Grieux and of 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 being sent to a convent by 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.

 

Two stunning artists return to make their respective role debuts next season. Soprano Sandra López (Dialogues of the Carmelites) will sing the title role and tenor Matthew Vickers (The Love of Three Kings, The Battle of Legnano) will sing the Chevalier Des Grieux. Making his U.S. debut will be Italian baritone Filippo Fontana in the role of Lescaut. Mr. Fontana’s credits include singing leading roles at famed opera houses such as La Scala, La Fenice in Venice, and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Other returning artists include bass-baritone Costas Tsourakis (The Battle of Legnano, La bohème) as Geronte de Ravoir.

 

This new production will be conducted by Victor DeRenzi, directed by Stephanie Sundine (Don Pasquale, Don Carlos) and will feature new sets by David P. Gordon (Aida, The Golden Cockerel).

 

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 tobacco 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 “Habanera” or feel your heart race to the famous “Toreador Song.”

 

With a voice described as possessing “dramatic fire and vocal richness,” mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez (Dialogues of the Carmelites) will return to sing the title role. Tenor Cody Austin, who has been seen at Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Opera, and Virginia Opera, will make his Sarasota Opera debut as her ill-fated lover, Don José. Baritone Steven LaBrie, also making his Sarasota Opera debut and who has bowed on stages such as Opera Hong Kong, Washington National Opera, and Dallas Opera, will sing the toreador, Escamillo. Returning artists include soprano Hanna Brammer Dillon making her principal artist debut as Micaëla, baritone Alexander Charles Boyd (Italian Girl in Algiers) as Dancaïre, Sean Christensen (Dialogues of the Carmelites, Don Pasquale) as Remendado, and bass-baritone Costas Tsourakis (La bohème, Die Fledermaus) as Zuniga. 

 

Making his Sarasota Opera conducting debut will be John F. Spencer IV and Martha Collins (Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Battle of Legnano) will direct.

 

 

 

 

Norma  by Vincenzo Bellini

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

March 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 24
Sarasota Opera Premiere

Beyond Verdi: Italian Masters Series

 

Vincenzo Bellini brings passion, vengeance and defiance in his eighth opera, Norma , which premiered in 1831 and has been a tour-de-force role for famous sopranos throughout 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.

 

Several artists return next season to make up this impressive cast. Soprano Joanna Parisi (Madama Butterfly) returns to make her role debut as the title character. Soprano Jennifer Black (The Battle of Legnano) also returns to sing the priestess Adalgisa. Bass Young Bok Kim (The Battle of Legnano, Don Carlos) sings Oroveso. Making his Sarasota debut will be tenor Cameron Schutza in the role of the Roman official, Pollione. Mr. Schutza’s credits include leading roles at the Caramoor Festival, Michigan Opera Theatre and Portland Summerfest.

 

Victor DeRenzi  will conduct and stage director Mark Freiman (Italian Girl in Algiers) will return to direct. Sets for this new production will be designed by Michael Schweikardt (Fidelio, Vanessa).

 

 

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 and a rare American production 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 20 th  century verismo opera is seen regularly in Germany and Austria, but there has only been two productions in the United States since 1908.

 

Soprano Kara Shay Thomson (Tosca, Fidelio) returns to sing the role of Marta. Making their Sarasota Opera debuts are three talented artists each enjoying exciting careers on stages across the United States. Russian-American baritone Aleksey Bogdanov will sing the wealthy landowner Sebastiano, tenor Ben Gulley will sing the role of the shepherd Pedro, and bass Branch Fields will sing the role of the elderly Tommaso. Former Studio Artists Hanna Brammer Dillon will sing the role of Nuri and baritone Alexander Charles Boyd will sing Marucio

 

A specialist in the German repertoire, David Neely (Fidelio, The Flying Dutchman) will return to conduct. This new production will be designed by scenic designer Steven C. Kemp and directed by Michael Unger (Vanessa, Of Mice and Men).

 

Ticket Information

Subscriptions for the 2017/2018 Season are available now both online at  www.sarasotaopera.org  and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office. Become a 4 or 5 opera subscriber to maximize the best savings on tickets and to secure the best seats.  

 

Single tickets, which start at only $19, for the 2017/2018 season go on-sale  exclusively online at  www.sarasotaopera.org 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. Ticket prices range from $19 - $125.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017/18 Sarasota Opera Fall and Winter Festival

 

La traviata  by Giuseppe Verdi

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

November 3, 5(m) 8, 14, 16, 19m, 21 2017

Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm


Artists:

Violetta:                       Elizabeth Tredent

Alfredo:                       David Guzman*

Giorgio:                       Marco Nisticò

Flora Bervoix:              Laurel Smerdjian

Conductor:                   Victor DeRenzi

Stage Director:             Stephanie Sundine

Scenic Designer:          David Gano
Costume Coordinator:  Howard Tsvi Kaplan

Lighting Designer:        Ken Yunker

 

*Sarasota Opera debut

 

Rootabaga Country  by Rachel J. Peters

Sung in English with English supertitles

November 11 at 5:30pm and November 12 at 12:30pm

A World Premiere
Sarasota Youth Opera production


Artists:                                   

Sarasota Youth Opera members
Potato Face Blind Man:            Costas Tsourakis
Gimme the Ax:                        Tobias Wright

 

Conductor:                   Jesse Martins

Stage Director:             Martha Collins

Scenic Designer:          Sheryl Liu*

Costume Designer:       Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer:        Ken Yunker

 

*Sarasota Opera debut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manon Lescaut  by Giacomo Puccini

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

February 10, 14, 18m, 20, 24

March 1, 4m, 17, 23

A Sarasota Opera premiere

Beyond Verdi

Opening Night performance begins at 7pm

Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:

Manon Lescaut:                       Sandra López

Chevalier Des Grieux: Matthew Vickers

Lescaut:                       Filippo Fontana*
Geronte De Ravoir:      Costas Tsourakis

Conductor:                   Victor DeRenzi

Stage Director:             Stephanie Sundine

Scenic Designer:          David P. Gordon

Costume Designer:       Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer:        Ken Yunker

 

*Sarasota Opera debut         

 

Carmen  by Georges Bizet

Sung in French with English supertitles

February 17, 22, 25m, 27

March 2, 7, 9, 13, 16, 22, 24m

A Sarasota Opera New Production

Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:

Carmen:                       Lisa Chavez

Micaëla:                       Hanna Brammer Dillon

Don José:                     Cody Austin*

Escamillo:                    Steven laBrie*
Dancaire:                     Alexander Charles Boyd

Remendado                 Sean Christensen

Zuniga:                        Costas Tsourakis

 

Conductor:                   John F. Spencer IV

Stage Director:             Martha Collins            

Scenic Designer:          David P. Gordon

Costume Coordinator:  Howard Tsvi Kaplan

Lighting Designer:        Ken Yunker

*Sarasota Opera debut



 

 

 

 

 

Norma  by Vincenzo Bellini

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

March 3, 6, 8, 11m, 14, 17m, 20, 24

A Sarasota Opera premiere

Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:

Norma:                         Joanna Parisi

Adalgisa:                      Jennifer Black

Pollione:                      Cameron Schutza*

Oroveso:                      Young Bok Kim

 

Conductor:                   Victor DeRenzi

Stage Director:             Mark Freiman

Scenic Designer:          Michael Schweikardt

Costume Coordinator:  Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer:        Ken Yunker

 

*Sarasota Opera debut

 

Tiefland  by Eugen d’Albert

Sung in German with English supertitles

March 10, 15, 18m, 21, 25m

A Sarasota Opera premiere

Evening performances begin at 7:30pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30pm

Artists:

Marta:                          Kara Shay Thomson

Nuri:                            Hanna Brammer Dillon

Pedro:                          Ben Gulley*

Sebastiano:                  Aleksey Bogdanov*

Maruccio:                    Alexander Charles Boyd
Tommaso:                    Branch Fields*

 

 

Conductor:                   David Neely

Stage Director:             Michael Unger

Scenic Designer:          Steven C. Kemp*

Costume Designer:       Howard Tsvi Kaplan
Lighting Designer:        Ken Yunker

 

*Sarasota Opera debut

 

ABOUT SARASOTA OPERA

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  www.sarasotaopera.org