Puccini’s timeless La bohème opens Sarasota Opera Winter Festival on February 8th

With memorable characters and some of the most cherished music in the repertory, La bohème holds a special place in the hearts of opera lovers

January 21, 2020
Contact: Lana Mullen, Communications Coordinator
(941) 328-1322
[email protected]

Sarasota, FL Love is in the air on Saturday, February 8 at 7pm, when Sarasota Opera opens the 2020 Winter Opera Festival with Puccini’s La bohème. The melodious love story follows a group of friends — starving artists and intellectuals — living a bohemian lifestyle in 1830’s Paris. They struggle with poverty, but never let hardship bring them down. Along the way, Rodolfo and Mimì fall in love—and it doesn’t get much more romantic than young love in Paris in the winter. La bohème will have thirteen performances through March 21, 2020. Tickets start at $19. For more information, visit SarasotaOpera.org, call (941) 328-1300, or visit the box office at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Favorite artists comprise the cast — along with some exciting new faces
Soprano Anna Mandina — returning from her acclaimed performance as Liú in last year’s Turandot — will make her role debut as Mimì. Her “heartfelt singing and beautifully floated high notes” have drawn critical praise from the international magazine Opera Now. William Davenport, most recently heard as The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, will portray Mimì’s suitor, Rodolfo the poet. After spending the summer on the roster of major international theaters such as Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera and Milan’s La Scala, baritone Filippo Fontana returns to Sarasota to play Marcello the painter. Making her company debut is soprano Jessica Sandidge, with “a voice of both power and beauty” (Opera Wire) who will play the coquettish Musetta, Marcello’s former girlfriend. Longtime Sarasota audience favorite bass Young Bok Kim will play Colline, the philosopher, who uses his wit to distract the landlord from collecting the rent. “Gifted young baritone” (Opera News) Ricardo Rivera will make his company debut playing Schaunard, the musician. Also making their company debuts will be Grammy award winning bass-baritone Adelmo Guidarelli, playing Benoît the landlord and bass-baritone Joseph Beutel as Alcindoro, Musetta’s wealthly admirer. Victor DeRenzi will conduct, with Mark Freiman (The Magic Flute) directing.

La bohème in popular culture
With its melodic story of friendship, love, and loss, La bohème may be the most familiar opera of all time — and has been an inspiration throughout popular culture. Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Rent is based directly on the opera, transplanting the setting to New York City where a group of poor young artists struggle on the Lower East Side. Director Baz Luhrmann loosely based his Moulin Rouge on elements of the La bohème story, and then brought the opera itself to Broadway in a production described by Variety Magazine as “utterly enchanting.” Musical references to the work abound throughout the Academy Award–winning film Moonstruck. Sarasota Opera’s La bohème is presented with beautifully traditional sets and costumes and is sung in Italian with real-time English translations above the stage.

Ticket information
Individual tickets start at only $19 and are available at SarasotaOpera.org and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office. For more information on La bohème as well as the rest of the 2020 Winter Opera Festival season—Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet (opening February 15), Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love (opening February 22), and Catalani’s La Wally, (opening March 7)—contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300 or visit in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.

About Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera is entering its 61st 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.


Sarasota Opera • 61 N. Pineapple Avenue • Sarasota, FL 34236 • (941) 366-8450 www.sarasotaopera.org #End