About Sarasota Opera

Based in Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is in now in its 61st season.

In 1960 the touring Turnau Opera Players presented their first season in the historic 320 seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota's Ringling Museum of Art. The following year the Asolo Opera Guild was formed to support the annual visits of the Turnau company. In 1974 the Guild formed the Asolo Opera Company to begin presenting their own productions. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater in downtown Sarasota in 1979. Renovations began in 1982 and the theater, now on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House, the company it housed now being called Sarasota Opera.

Since 1983 the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi. 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 performances for local schools and the unique Sarasota Youth Opera program, currently the most comprehensive youth opera program in the nation.

Sarasota Opera began attracting international attention with the Masterworks Revival Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit and made history in 2016 by completing the Verdi Cycle, a 28-season effort to produce every work written by Giuseppe Verdi. Sarasota Opera is now the only opera company in the world to have presented every work, in every version and Maestro DeRenzi is the only conductor to have conducted all the composer’s works.

The Sarasota Opera House completed a $20 million-dollar historic renovation and restoration in 2008. The project was designed to restore the historic 1926 theater to its original glory, while creating a venue for opera for the 21st century. Decorative details have been restored, seating has been replaced, and the orchestra pit almost doubled in size to accommodate operas that require larger orchestras. Backstage systems have been updated and public areas and amenities expanded and enhanced.