Sarasota Opera Opens 60th Season on February 9th

Diamond Anniversary Season will be celebrated with returning favorites, new productions, and special events

January 8, 2019

Lana Mullen, Communications Coordinator
(941) 328-1322
[email protected]

Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera will celebrate its 60th Season when the 2019 Winter Opera Festival opens on February 9th with Puccini’s Turandot. The festival will continue with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Verdi’s Nabucco, and the premiere of a rare and delightful comic double bill: Donizetti’s Rita (Two Men and a Woman) and Wolf-Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret. Special events, lectures, recitals, and concerts continue through the season. Capping off the festivities will be the Diamond Anniversary recital and dinner on April 5th.

2019 Fall Season

Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot
February 9, 12, 14, 17m, 20, 23, 28
March 3m, 8, 15, 17, 20m, 22
The vocally extravagant Turandot features some of the composer’s most exquisite music, including the famous tenor aria “Nessun dorma.” Set in ancient China, Turandot tells the story of a beautiful princess for whom suitors travel the world to win her hand in marriage. But first, they must solve three riddles. A wrong answer bodes a disastrous fate. Will true love prevail? Featuring Kara Shay Thomson as Turandot, Jonathan Burton as Calaf, and Anna Mandina as Liù. Turandot is conducted by Victor DeRenzi with stage direction by Stephanie Sundine. This production is generously sponsored by Bud and Betty Shapiro in honor of the 60th Anniversary Season.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute
February 16, 19, 21, 24m, 27
March 1, 16m, 21, 23

This enchanting tale tells the story of a noble prince searching for his princess, a bumbling bird catcher hoping for a mate, and an evil queen. The mystical story is filled with metaphor, beautiful music, and dazzling vocal fireworks, making it an audience favorite the world over. Featuring Alexandra Batsios as the Queen of the Night, Hanna Brammer as Pamina (Adelaide Boedecker on March 1 only), Andrew Surrena as Tamino, Matthew Hanscom as Papageno. Jesse Martins will conduct, and Mark Freiman direct. 

Guiseppe Verdi’s Nabucco
March 2, 5, 7, 10m, 13, 16, 19, 24m
An epic story of the conquest of the ancient Hebrews by the Babylonian king Nabucco is replete with a treacherous love triangle, betrayal, madness and – ultimately– repentance. The third act chorus, “Va pensiero,” in which the Jews in captivity dream of their lost homeland and freedom, has become one of the most popular melodies of all time. Victor DeRenzi conducts, Martha Collins directs, Stephen Gaertner is Nabucco, Rochelle Bard is Abigaille, Lisa Chavez is Fenena, and Ben Gulley is Ismaele.

 A Comic Double Bill: Gaetano Donizetti’s Rita (Two Men and a Woman) and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret
March 9, 12, 14, 17m, 20, 23m
This Sarasota Opera premiere of two rare one-act comedies will make for a delightful evening at the opera. Both operas take a comic look at marital discord, with plots filled with mix-ups and confusion, colorful characters, and misunderstandings. And yet, effervescent music and lively orchestration light the way to a most amusing outcome. A talented trio of artists will serve as the cast for both of these works: Elizabeth Tredent, Marco Nisticò and William Davenport. Marcello Cormio will conduct and JJ Hudson will make his Sarasota Opera debut directing. 

All opera performances take place at The William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera House. Opening Night—Turandot, on February 9—starts at 7pm. Evening performances start at 7:30pm. Matinee performances start at 1:30pm, and are marked with an “m.”

Activities, Lectures, Performances, and Talks

Special Free Nabucco-related Events
Learn to Sing “Va pensiero”
Join us to learn to sing “Va pensiero, sull’ali dorate.”
Following the rehearsal come backstage to see our Nabucco set close up.
Wednesday February 13, 2019 5:00pm Kamlet Library, free event

Apprentice & Studio Artists Concert
Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists will present a concert of Verdi songs and other music written around the time of Nabucco at the Venice Public Library
Tuesday March 12, 2019 12:00pm Venice Public Library, free event

Youth Opera Courtyard Concerts
Sarasota Youth Opera singers will present concerts of music by Verdi before the performances of Nabucco and the double bill of Rita & Susanna’s Secret in the Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard.
Thursday March 7, 2019 6:30pm Felding Hall/Courtyard, free event
Tuesday March 12, 2019 6:30pm Felding Hall/Courtyard, free event

Free Pre-performance Introductions
Free pre-performance introductions to Nabucco and the comic double bill Rita and Susanna’s Secret, 45 minutes before each performance in Felding Hall, 6:45pm for evening performances, 12:45pm for matinee performances.

Artists Roundtable
You’ve experienced the power of live opera from your seat—now experience what goes on behind the curtain. Directors, designers, singers, and conductors from the 2019 Winter productions will talk about backstage at the opera. Tickets, $20.

Tuesday February 19, 2019 5:00pm               Singers Roundtable, Kamlet Library 
Tuesday February 26, 2019 5:00pm               Music Staff Roundtable, Kamlet Library      
Thursday February 28, 2019 5:00pm             Producing Early Verdi, Kamlet Library                    
Tuesday March 5, 2019 5:00pm                     Principal Artists Roundtable, Kamlet Library           
Tuesday March 12, 2019 5:00pm                   Technical Staff Roundtable, Kamlet Library            

Concerts at Noon
Hear Sarasota Opera’s Studio and Apprentice Artists perform in these hour-long concerts. The March 14th concert is performed by musicians from the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, featuring instrumental transcriptions of music by Verdi. Limited seating: first come, first served. Performances take place in the Lee & Bob Peterson Great Room. Tickets $5.
Friday March 8, 2019 12:00pm          Apprentice Artists      
Thursday March 14, 2019 12:00pm   Orchestra Soloists: Verdi Transcriptions
Friday March 15, 2019 12:00pm        Studio Understudies
Friday March 22, 2019 12:00pm        Apprentice Artists      


Opera House Tours
Tour the historic Sarasota Opera House on Mondays during opera season. You’ll hear some great stories and discover why the Sarasota Opera house is at the very center of Sarasota’s cultural life. Tickets $12.

Monday February 18, 2019 10:30am Sarasota Opera House
Monday February 25, 2019 10:30am Sarasota Opera House
Monday March 4, 2019 10:30am Sarasota Opera House      
Monday March 11, 2019 10:30am Sarasota Opera House    
Monday March 18, 2019 10:30am Sarasota Opera House    


Recital Series

Diamond Anniversary Recital
Friday April 5, 2019 5:00pm  Sarasota Opera House
2019 is Sarasota Opera’s 60th anniversary season. To celebrate the occasion, four favorite principal artists will perform arias and ensembles with piano accompaniment, from operas produced at Sarasota Opera over the last 60 years. Sharing the Sarasota Opera stage will be Kara Shay Thomson, (Marta in Tiefland, Floria Tosca in Tosca), tenor Jonathan Burton (Carlos in Verdi’s Don Carlos, Calaf in Turandot), baritone Marco Nisticò (Giorgio Germont in La traviata, Amonasro in Aida), and bass Young Bok Kim (Oroveso in Norma, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville). Tickets start at only $10 for the recital only. See special events listings for information about dinner following the recital.

Opera Composers in Song
Friday May 10, 2019 7:30pm Sarasota Opera House
Great opera composers did not limit themselves to composing exclusively for the stage, having produced some of the most exquisite songs in the repertoire. Soprano Elizabeth Tredent (Violetta in La traviata, Fiora in The Love of Three Kings), tenor Matthew Vickers (Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Avito in The Love of Three Kings), and baritone Marco Nisticò (Giorgio Germont in La traviata, Amonasro in Aida) will perform songs by celebrated opera composers. Tickets start at $10.

Special Events

2019 Sarasota Opera Gala: “A Jeweled Affair – An Evening of Glamour and Glitz”
Saturday February 2, 2019 6:30pm Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
The annual Opera Gala celebrates the beginning of Sarasota Opera’s Winter Festival. The elegant affair will include a cocktail hour, silent auction, four course dinner, a special performance by our Principal Artists, and live music for dancing. Let’s raise a glass of champagne together at the premier social event in Sarasota! Tickets $325/person.

Salute to the Stars
Thursday March 21, 2019 11:30am, Sarasota Yacht Club
Celebrate the outstanding Sarasota Opera artists who will be honored in 2019 with a live performance by the award winners and lunch overlooking Sarasota Bay. Tickets: $75 Individual or $125 per Patron Sponsor (includes donation to support the apprentice artist program, premium seating, and recognition in the program).

Diamond Anniversary Recital & Dinner
Friday April 5, 2019 5:00pm, Recital - Sarasota Opera House
Friday April 5, 2019 7:30pm, Dinner - Art Ovation Hotel
Diamond Anniversary Recital celebrating the conclusion of the 60th Anniversary Season, followed by a festive dinner and special presentation at the Art Ovation hotel. Tickets: $295 per person, includes dinner, and recital with premium seating.

Ticket Information
It’s not too late to subscribe to Sarasota Opera! Become a 4-opera subscriber to maximize the best savings on tickets. Individual tickets start at only $19 and are available at and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office. For more information on the 2019 season, 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 celebrating its 60th 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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