Victor DeRenzi

Victor DeRenzi
Artistic Director

In his 37 seasons as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Sarasota Opera, Victor DeRenzi has overseen 184 productions of 123 different operas, as well as numerous concerts and recitals.

He devoted much of his career to building Sarasota Opera while continuing to conduct nationally and internationally. Maestro DeRenzi has appeared across the United States with Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as at the St. Louis, Toledo, New Orleans and New York City operas. Internationally he has worked in Nice, Edmonton, Québec City, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and at L'Opéra du Montréal. He was also a frequent visitor to opera companies in Hong Kong and the Canary Islands.

Maestro DeRenzi's artistic vision has garnered the company international attention as a place to experience rarely performed works. He initiated Sarasota Opera's Verdi Cycle, which was concluded in 2016, making Sarasota Opera the only company in the world to have performed all of Verdi’s music. He began the Masterworks Revival Series, which produced neglected operas of significant artistic merit, and the American Classics Series dedicated to producing 20th Century operas by American composers.

This growth in the production of operas has been matched in other areas as well. Under Maestro DeRenzi's leadership, Sarasota Opera has created important educational and outreach activities. The year-round Sarasota Youth Opera Program introduces young people, ages 8 to 18, to all aspects of opera. The program constitutes remarkable learning and performing opportunities that include three Youth Opera Choruses and yearly performances on Sarasota Opera’s main stage of works written specifically for young voices, but with all aspects of the productions overseen by professionals.

Maestro DeRenzi's interest in the training of professional singers led to the founding of Sarasota Opera's Apprentice and Studio Artists programs. Chosen from national auditions, the participants in these programs form the chorus for the main stage opera productions, perform community outreach, understudy principal roles and perform secondary roles on the main stage. Many former Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists have gone on to leading roles with the company as well as with other major opera houses around the world.

Maestro DeRenzi is a noted Verdi specialist, being the only conductor to have conducted the entire canon of Verdi’s works. Arts Critic Lawrence Johnson wrote, “Victor DeRenzi is simply the finest, most idiomatic Verdi conductor I’ve ever heard, and I’m not forgetting some much more celebrated names.” Maestro DeRenzi has also edited a two-volume edition of Verdi’s songs with piano, many of which were not previously available.

Although Maestro DeRenzi is a noted Italian opera conductor, his repertoire includes operas by Janáček, Mozart, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, and Stravinsky, among others. In 2019 he will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his debut as a conductor.

The City of Sarasota has recognized him on four separate occasions for service to the community. He was featured on the cover of Sarasota Magazine, which has twice recognized him as one of Sarasota's 100 Most Powerful People. In 2015 Maestro DeRenzi was made a “Cavaliere dell’ordine della stella d’italia”, Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy, by the Italian Republic, for his work in bringing Italian culture beyond the borders of Italy.

During Sarasota Opera's 2021 Season, Maestro DeRenzi will conduct the performances of Rossini's The Happy Deception (L'inganno felice) and Il signor Bruschino.