Guest Artists announced for “Sarasota Opera: A Celebration!”

Online fundraising event to include notable artists and performances

April 15, 2021
Contact: Lana Mullen, Communications Coordinator
(941) 328-1322
[email protected]

Sarasota, FL—Sarasota Opera has announced the full roster of guest artists for Sarasota Opera: A Celebration!, a virtual celebration of the Sarasota Opera community to be held on April 23, 2021 at 7:30 pm. The online event, hosted by Executive Director Richard Russell and Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi, will include special performances by soprano Michelle Johnson and tenor Matthew Vickers. A 15-minute concert will feature mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez and bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo along with the Sarasota Opera String Quartet. Previously unreleased archival video from Bizet’s Carmen, Verdi’s Aida and Nabucco, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Puccini’s Turandot, and the Sarasota Youth Opera production of Brundibàr will feature numerous favorite artists of Sarasota Opera. Tickets for Sarasota Opera: A Celebration! start at $75. The event will be available for on-demand viewing through April 30, 2021. Visit or call 941-366-8450, ext. 402 for purchasing and event information.

The artists
Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez appears this season as Dido in the Spring Festival production of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She has been seen in many Sarasota Opera productions, and has also appeared with New York City Opera, Opera San José, Shreveport Opera, and Knoxville Opera.

Soprano Michelle Johnson last appeared with Sarasota Opera as the New Prioress in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, and her signature role of Aida capped off the company’s Verdi Cycle in 2016. She has also appeared with Glimmerglass Music Festival, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Philadelphia, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and Columbus Symphony, and was a Grand Prize Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Tenor Matthew Vickers was last seen at Sarasota Opera as the Messenger in Aida and has appeared in many other productions. Praised for his “brilliant and golden voice,” he has also performed leading roles with Virginia Opera, Opera Roanoke, Opera Delaware, Dayton Opera, and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo is singing the role of Gaudenzio in the Spring Festival production of Rossini’s Il signor Bruschino and performed the role of Uberto in the Winter Festival production of La serva padrona. He has also performed with Finnish National Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, LA Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and Washington National Opera, among others.

Four members of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra form the Sarasota Opera String Quartet: violinists L.P. How and Thomas Hofmann, violist Alexandra VandeGeijn, and cellist Julia Henderson will perform a special selection exclusively for this program.

Selections from Sarasota Opera’s archival video will feature such artists as soprano Rochelle Bard, tenor Jonathan Burton, bass Young Bok Kim, soprano Sandra López, soprano Elizabeth Trent, and soprano Kara Shay Thomson.

Ticket information
Tickets to Sarasota Opera: A Celebration! are $75 per household. Visit or call 941-366-8450, ext. 402 for purchasing and event information. Ticket includes access to the live broadcast on April 23, and the recorded event at any time between April 24 and April 30.

About Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera is entering its 62nd Season of bringing world-class opera to Florida’s Gulf Coast. The company was launched in 1960, when a touring chamber opera company came to 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 present the season. By 1974 the Asolo Opera was mounting its own productions at the theater. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to full-scale opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater which in 1984 (as the Sarasota Opera House) became home to the newly renamed Sarasota Opera. The building underwent a $20 million renovation and rehabilitation in 2007 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. Sarasota Opera has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle, completed in 2016, that made Sarasota Opera the only opera company in the world to present all of Verdi’s works. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice and Studio Artists programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its Explorations in Opera performances for local schools and the industry-leading 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 from 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.


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