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2017 Press Releases

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Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School announce an inaugural collaboration for the 2017-18 season

August 8, 2017

Samuel Lowry, Director of Audience Development

                                (941) 328-1322


Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School announce an inaugural collaboration for the 2017/2018 season. The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School will participate in three of the five operas in Sarasota Opera’s upcoming season.


Tania Vergara, Choreographer and Master Teacher, and four dancers from the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School will join the production team and cast of this fall’s production of Verdi’s La traviata. Ms. Vergara will serve as the production choreographer and the four dancers, Elias Re, Evita Re, Zachary Bennett, and Camila Serrano, will alternate performances. In addition to La traviata, Ms. Vergara will serve as choreographer for Act II of Bizet’s Carmen as well as choreograph movement for the principal artists in the final opera of the season, Tiefland by Eugen d’Albert.


Tania Vergara trained in Cuba and taught at the National Ballet School from 1986 to 2013. During this time she founded, directed and was choreographer of Endedans, a Cuban contemporary dance company. After coming to the U.S. in 2014, she joined the faculty of the School of Ballet Arts in Lake Worth, Florida and is a popular guest choreographer for dance companies in the U.S. Her choreography has won many awards, including the Ibero-American Choreography Award in 2008 for “To the Ends of the Earth,” the Anacaona "Golden Flower" Distinction granted by the Dominican Republic’s Igneri Foundation,  and National Union of Writers and Artist of Cuba Choreography Award (UNEAC).


Sarasota Opera launches its 59 th  season on November 3 rd with the return of Verdi’s La traviata which will run for seven performances through November 21 st . In addition, the Sarasota Youth Opera will present its sixth world premiere, Rootabaga Country by Rachel J. Peters, on November 11 and 12.


The 2018 Winter Festival Season opens on Saturday, February 10 th , with the Sarasota Opera premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Following on February 17th will the be return of Carmen by Georges Bizet; the Sarasota Opera premiere of Norma by Vincenzo Bellini on March 3rd; and the Sarasota Opera premiere of the German verismo opera Tiefland by Eugen d’Albert opening March 10th.



Subscriptions for the 2017/2018 Season are available now both online at  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 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.



SCBS was founded in 2012 by the Cuban-born husband and wife team of Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernandez. Born in Cuba, they trained at the elite National Ballet School of Cuba and performed internationally. In 1993 they moved to Sarasota to join the Sarasota Ballet. Co-Artistic Directors of SCBS, they teach classes at all levels for students from age three to adults, but the heart of the School’s program is a rigorous training course to prepare talented, serious young dancers for professional careers. Students of SCBS have gone on to perform with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Milwaukee Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Ballet Manila, Ballet Municipal de Lima, and the Royal Ballet School and Company.



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