Sarasota Opera Announces Changes to 2021 Winter Opera Festival

Fully staged opera productions for well-spaced audiences planned for February, March, and April

November 10, 2020
Contact: Lana Mullen, Communications Coordinator
(941) 328-1322
[email protected]

Sarasota, FL—Sarasota Opera announced a redesigned 2021 Winter/Spring Opera Festival that will include two operas that feature a smaller cast and orchestra to be presented in February and March, and a second two-opera season in April, both to a well-spaced audience and limited capacity. Each production will run for between an hour and an hour and a half with no intermission. The featured productions will be The Happy Deception (L’inganno felice) by Gioachino Rossini, Maid to Mistress (La serva padrona) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Il signor Bruschino by Gioachino Rossini, and Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell. The company will defer their previously scheduled productions to future seasons.

“We are both optimistic and committed to adapting our art to the challenges of today’s world,” says Executive Director Richard Russell. “Our sold out Fall Season performances show that audiences are eager for live opera to return to the stage of the Sarasota Opera House.”

Casting and production teams for each opera will be announced at a later date.

Works scheduled for February, March, and April 2021
Opening the 2021 Winter Opera Festival on Friday, February 12th will be The Happy Deception (L’inganno felice), an opera in one act by Gioachino Rossini. The opera was an instant success when it premiered in Venice in 1812. A duchess disappears and then washes up on a beach in a small mining town. A kind miner takes her in and cares for her, until ten years later when her grieving husband and his entourage pay a visit. Abduction, menace, passion, and comedy all swirl towards a happy conclusion. Sung in Italian, with English translations above the stage, there will be six performances through February 25, 2021.

Opening on Friday, February 19, 2021 will be Maid To Mistress (La serva padrona)a short opera by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. The plot involves a wealthy older bachelor who grows impatient with his saucy young maid and resolves to find a wife to care for him properly. The maid has other ideas though, and schemes to get the promotion she desires — bride and mistress of the home. The opera will be sung in Italian, with English translations above the stage. There will be six performances through Thursday, March 4, 2021

Opening on Friday, April 9, 2021 will be Il signor Bruschino by Gioacchino Rossini. This lighthearted operatic comedy opens with one of Rossini’s most innovative and playful overtures. Anxious young lovers navigate their way through meddling parents, an arranged marriage, and a case of mistaken identity, with sparkling arias and ensembles soaring towards happily ever after. The opera will be sung in Italian, with English translations above the stage. There will be six performances through April 24, 2021.

Opening on Sunday, April 11, 2021 will be Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell. In this Baroque treasure based on the Aeneid of Virgil, Dido the Queen of Carthage falls in love with the Trojan warrior Aeneas, yet scheming sorcery and fateful spells doom their great passion. Hear the abandoned and heartbroken queen conclude the epic tale with one of opera’s most memorable laments. The opera will be sung in the original English, with titles above the stage, for six performances through April 25, 2021.

Virtual performance options will be available
All four operas will also be live streamed in high definition with multiple cameras, premium audio, and subtitles, and will be available for purchase as a virtual season for $100 or as a single opera for $25.

Health and safety
Sarasota Opera will continue to use enhanced cleaning procedures, testing, masking, and ample spacing to protect artists, crew, musicians, staff members, and audience. The historic Sarasota Opera House, which normally seats 1119, will be limited to an audience of 275, approximately 20% of its capacity. Details on health and safety can be found at In the evolving environment of COVID-19, future plans will be continually evaluated, and other adjustments may be made to the performance schedule and protocols if circumstances require further changes.

Ticket Information
Current subscribers will be contacted to discuss their options: they may convert their subscription tickets to the revised season, defer their subscriptions to the following year, make a tax-deductible donation of their tickets, or receive a refund. Remaining 4-opera subscriptions and single tickets for the 2021 Winter and Spring Opera Festivals will be available for purchase January 4, 2021. For more information on the upcoming 2021 Winter and Spring performances, visit, or contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300.

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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