March 7, 2021

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Sarasota Opera plans winter season |

6 min read

SARASOTA – Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, and Richard Russell, Executive Director of Sarasota Opera, are pleased to announce the casting for the 2021 Winter and Spring Opera Festivals.

Single tickets for the four 60-90 minute, fully staged and socially distanced live performances, as well as streaming performances with subtitles, go on sale Monday, Jan. 4.

The Winter Opera Festival includes The Happy Deception (L’inganno felice) by Gioachino Rossini, and Maid to Mistress (La serva padrona) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, with performances February 12-March 4. The Spring Opera Festival includes Il signor Bruschino by Gioachino Rossini, and Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, with performances April 9-April 25. Discounted four-opera subscriptions are still available. For more information, visit SarasotaOpera.org, or contact the box office at 941-328-1300. Sarasota Opera is committed to the highest health and safety standards. Details are available at sarasotaopera.org/health-and-safety.

2021 Winter Opera Festival

Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera The Happy Deception (L’inganno felice) opens Feb. 12. Soprano Hanna Brammer — who sang Juliet in Winter 2020’s Romeo & Juliet — will portray the Duchess Isabella, who disappeared and washes up on a beach in a small mining town. Tarabotto, the kind miner who takes her in and cares for her, will be played by bass/baritone Alexander Charles Boyd, last seen at Sarasota Opera as Count Monterone in Rigoletto. The Duchess Isabella’s grieving husband Duke Bertrando will be played by tenor Christopher Bozeka, who is making his Sarasota Opera debut. Mr. Bozeka has performed to acclaim at Wolf Trap Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Southwest, Teatro Nuovo of New York, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. The Duke’s follower Ormondo will be played by bass Joshua DeVane, last heard here as Marullo in Rigoletto. Ormondo’s henchman Batone will be played by baritone Joseph Beutel, returning after his Sarasota Opera debut in Winter 2020’s La bohéme and Romeo & Juliet. The Happy Deception will be led by principal conductor Victor DeRenzi, with stage direction by Martha Collins (Romeo & Juliet), with six performances through Feb. 25.

Opening Feb. 19 is Maid to Mistress (La serva padrona) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. In this lighthearted comic work from 1733, the wealthy bachelor Uberto will be played by “seasoned basso buffo” (Observer) Stefano de Peppo, last seen as Doctor Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love. Mr. de Peppo, a Sarasota audience favorite, has also performed at the Finnish National Opera, Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, Washington National Opera, LA Opera, and Atlanta Opera, among others. The saucy maid who aspires to become his bride and mistress of the home will be played by soprano Anna Mandina, who returns after her highly lauded Winter 2020 turn as Mimì in La bohème. Marcello Cormio (Rita and Susanna’s Secret) will conduct, and Mark Freiman (La boheme) will direct. Maid to Mistress will have six performances through March 4.

2021 Spring Opera Festival

Opening April 9 is another sparkling gem by Gioachino Rossini, Il signor Bruschino. Sofia and Florville are a pair of anxious young lovers portrayed by soprano Hanna Brammer and Christopher Bozeka. Why are they anxious? Because Sofia has been betrothed to marry someone else. Her guardian Gaudenzio, to be played by bass Stefano de Peppo, has promised her to the son of his friend il signor Bruschino, to be played by Alexander Charles Boyd. Other characters in the case of mistaken identity include the innkeeper Filiberto, baritone Joshua DeVane, and the waitress Marianna, mezzo soprano Laurel Semerdjian (Flora Bervoix in Fall 2017’s La Traviata) recently hailed as “a dramatic and musical tour de force” (Pittsburgh Tribune). Victor DeRenzi will conduct, with stage direction by Stephanie Sundine (La Wally). Il signor Bruschino will have six performances through April 24.

Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas will open April 11. Portraying Dido the Queen of Carthage will be mezzo soprano Lisa Chavez, who was most recently seen in Winter 2020’s Romeo & Juliet and La Wally. Ms. Chavez made headlines as the lead character Maggie in New York City Opera’s 2019 world premiere of Stonewall. The Trojan warrior Aeneas will be played by tenor Andrew Surrena, who sang the role of Romeo in Winter 2020’s Romeo & Juliet with a voice “rich and full through its entire range” (Herald Tribune). Mezzo soprano Annie Chester (Fall 2019’s Rigoletto) will play the Sorceress who casts a spell on the doomed couple. Dido’s confidante Belinda will be played by soprano Lindsay Ohse, who made her Sarasota Opera mainstage debut in 2010 as The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Also a former apprentice and studio artist here, Ms. Ohse has since appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and New York City Opera, among others. Jesse Martins (The Magic Flute and Brundibár) will conduct, with Martha Collins directing. Dido and Aeneas will have six performances through April 25.

Additional casting and acknowledgements

Costumes for the 2021 Winter and Spring Opera Festivals will be assembled by longtime resident costume designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan, along with lighting by resident lighting designer Ken Yunker. Numerous singers are returning from the recent 2020 Fall Season of performances “Live from Sarasota Opera” and “Sarasota Opera at the Gardens,” including Hanna Brammer, Anna Mandina, Alexander Charles Boyd, and Andrew Surrena. Sarasota Opera is grateful for the support of donors and the community, making it possible for the Company to continue performances throughout the challenges of 2020.

Sarasota Opera is committed to the highest Health & Safety standards: Each work will run between 60-90 minutes with no intermission. Seating in the Sarasota Opera House will be limited to 20% of capacity. Audience members will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented within the theater and the air conditioning system has been upgraded with a bi-polar ionization system to neutralize germs and viruses. More details on health and safety are available at SarasotaOpera.org.

Individual tickets for live and online streaming performances start at $25, and are available Jan. 4, along with four-opera subscriptions for both live and streaming performances. For more information, visit SarasotaOpera.org, call the Box Office at 941-328-1300, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., or email anytime at [email protected] The Box Office, located at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236, is currently closed to walk-ins.

Feb. 12, 14, 17, 20, 23, 25

Sarasota Opera 2021 Winter & Spring Opera Festivals The Happy Deception (L’inganno Felice) by Gioachino Rossini. Sung in Italian with English translations above the stage

Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinee performances begin at 1:30 p.m.

Conductor, Victor DeRenzi; Stage Director, Martha Collins; Costume Designer, Howard Tsvi Kaplan; Lighting Designer, Ken Yunker

Feb. 19, 21, 24, 27, March 2, 4

Maid to Mistress (La serva padrona) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Sung in Italian with English translations above the stage. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinee performances begin at 1:30 p.m.

Conductor, Marcello Cormio; Stage Director, Mark Freiman; Costume Coordinator, Howard Tsvi Kaplan; Lighting Designer. Ken Yunker

April 9, 13, 16, 18, 21, 24

Il signor Bruschino by Gioachino Rossini. Sung in Italian with English translations above the stage

Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm and matinee performances begin at 1:30 pm

Conductor, Victor DeRenzi; Stage Director, Stephanie Sundine; Costume Coordinator, Howard Tsvi Kaplan; Lighting Designer, Ken Yunker

April 11, 15, 17, 20, 22, 25

Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell. Sung in English with English translations above the stage. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinee performances begin at 1:30 p.m.

Conductor, Jesse Martins; Stage Director, Martha Collins; Costume Designer, Howard Tsvi Kaplan; Lighting Designer, Ken Yunker

This is Sarasota Opera’s 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 and 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 Artist’s 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.

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