Sarasota Youth Opera to receive $20,000 grant from
the National Endowment for the Arts

Gift supports fall production of Brundibár by Hans Krása 

May 16, 2019

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


Sarasota, FL— National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $20,000 to the Sarasota Youth Opera program to support their 2019 revival of Brundibár by Hans Krása. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program. The agency received 1,592 Art Works applications for this round of grantmaking and will award 977 grants in this category.

“These awards, reaching every corner of the United States, are a testament to the artistic richness and diversity in our country,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Organizations such as Sarasota Youth Opera are giving people in their community the opportunity to learn, create, and be inspired.”

“We are very grateful for the support of the National Endowment of the Arts” Richard Russell, Executive Director of Sarasota Opera commented. “By supporting our industry leading program, the NEA is helping us positively impact the lives of almost 100 young people by introducing them to opera through participating in performances.”

Brundibár by Hans Krása
Written before the start of World War II, Brundibár was performed over 55 times in the Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto and is considered one of the most performed youth operas, receiving hundreds of performances each year around the globe. The allegorical tale has three heroes—a sparrow, a cat and a very wise dog—who help Annette and Little Joe raise the money needed to save their ailing mother, despite the evil organ grinder Brundibár. The production will incorporate a revised and enhanced prologue crafted by Sarasota Youth Opera music director Jesse Martins and stage director Martha Collins containing quotes from children throughout history, from the Holocaust to present day, that address the larger social message of Brundibár. The prologue also includes several “original musical selections” with music by Dvořák and Puccini set to the words of Malala Yousafzai and the Declaration of Independence.

This inspiring work will be presented on November 15th and 16th with a school matinee performance on November 15th in partnership with Embracing Our Differences. The cast of approximately 70 to 90 young people will be comprised of Sarasota Youth Opera members ranging in age from 8 to 18. 

Tickets for Brundibár are currently available for purchase by 2019/20 Sarasota Opera Subscribers. Single tickets will be available exclusively online August 1st and at the Sarasota Opera box office September 3rd. For more information, please visit or call (941) 328-1300. For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit

About Sarasota Youth Opera

Since 1984, Sarasota Youth Opera has given thousands of young people an opportunity to experience opera first hand through participation in after-school choruses, Sarasota Opera mainstage productions, summer workshops, and fully staged Youth Opera productions. As the only program in the United States committed to presenting annual full-scale opera productions for young voices, accepting all who wish to participate regardless of skill level or ability to pay, Sarasota Youth Opera is a national model for opera education.

Youth Opera Choruses: Beginning at age 8, singers are placed in one of two chorus levels. Each chorus provides a setting for everyone to participate and progress at their own level as they gain greater skills and experience. Selections performed are made up of classical music, which includes opera and choral pieces in different languages. The choruses perform throughout the community in formal concerts and outreach events.

Opera Mainstage Season: Members of the Youth Opera are selected to join Sarasota Opera’s Winter Festival season, appearing in the mainstage children’s chorus, as supernumeraries (extras who perform non-singing roles) and for special roles written by the composer for children's voices. In recent seasons these have included roles in La bohème, Tosca, Carmen, and--in the upcoming 2019 Winter Festival—The Magic Flute and Turandot. Singers are involved in the complete production process – from early music and dramatic rehearsals to performing alongside opera professionals.

Youth Opera Productions: Part of Sarasota Opera’s commitment to young people includes the commissioning of new operatic works written for children and young adults. Six new works have been presented as part of this mission: Deadline (1989), Polly Pen’s Her Lightness (1993), Tom Suta’s Eye of Ra (1998), John Kennedy’s The Language of Birds (2004), Daron Hagen’s Little Nemo in Slumberland (2012) and Rachel J. Peters’ Rootabaga Country (2017). Members take part in the making of each opera, complete with professional staging, costumes, lighting, sound, and orchestral accompaniment.


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