Sarasota Opera Announces Changes to Fall Season, Plans Alternative Programming

August 4, 2020
Contact: Lana Mullen, Communications Coordinator
(941) 328-1322
[email protected]

Sarasota, FL— Due to the uncertainty of being able to gather safely in a theater in November, Sarasota Opera is cancelling the scheduled mainstage production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the Sarasota Youth Opera production of The Hobbit. The “Night in Italy” concert, scheduled for November 7, and the Concert at Noon scheduled for November 13 are also cancelled. The Taste of Downtown event scheduled for September 26 will also not be held, but the company is exploring ways to continue this important Youth Opera Fundraiser in another form. 

Sarasota Opera’s fall season will consist of concerts utilizing resident artists. A concert with singers and piano on stage at the Sarasota Opera House will be live-streamed on the internet on November 13, 2020. If conditions allow for an in-person audience, an announcement will be made at a later date. The “OperaMobile” will return in November with Resident Artists performing throughout Sarasota. If conditions allow, the Company will also be scheduling concerts at outdoor venues in Sarasota, to be announced later. The “Curtain Raiser Dinner” is still scheduled to be held on October 25, subject to prevailing conditions. In addition, Sarasota Opera hopes to begin a modified HD at the Opera House and Classic Movies at the Opera House series in September or October, depending on then-current health conditions.

The Sarasota Youth Opera fall semester will begin virtually in August. An alternative Sarasota Youth Opera presentation will be scheduled for Spring 2021.

No changes have been made to the Winter Opera Festival which is scheduled to run from Feb. 6 through March 21. Sarasota Opera will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make adjustments as appropriate. Single tickets for the Winter Opera Festival will go on sale on September 1, 2020.

Executive Director Richard Russell states, “Despite our disappointment in having to cancel our mainstage activities, we do not plan to be silent. Our intention is that opera remains in the hearts and minds of our supporters, our audience, and our community through this difficult time.”

Sarasota Opera suspended its 61st season after the March 12 performance of La Wally, yet paid all of their artists and crew for the entire season. 

Ticket holder Information

Ticket holders to the canceled performances will automatically be issued a refund by August 31, unless they choose to contact the box office at 941-328-1300 to donate their tickets. Donors and ticket buyers are encouraged to consider a tax-deductible gift to the Sarasota Opera Relief Fund, to support the company during this challenging time. Contributions can be made online at or by calling the box office. 

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.


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