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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Thursday, May 14, 2009 10 years ago

Music Review: Sarasota Opera 2009-2010 season


The Sarasota Opera has announced its plans for the company’s 51st season, and it looks like it’s pulling out all the stops.

Actually, because of the weak economy, especially where the arts are concerned, the company has decided to cut back the upcoming season by one week. We’re told that will save money without cutting back on quality. And, this summer, the renovated house’s missed side aisles will be restored, which means more comfort and access when the season begins in the fall.

But music is what makes the opera season, and Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi, in his monumental effort to offer every Verdi work, will continue the cycle with a rare staging of “Giovanna d’Arco” as part of the Masterworks Revival Series.

Verdi’s seventh opera, “Joan of Arc,” is reported to have had a mediocre staging at its premiere at La Scala in 1845, but it was a hit with audiences of the time. The subject lends itself to passion and drama, and the sweeping music, which includes large-scale choruses and impassioned arias, can, for those who want to brush up on the subject, be heard on recording with Caballe, Domingo, Milnes and the London Symphony Orchestra under James Levine.

A more familiar Verdian work — “La Traviata” — will turn up in the Sarasota Opera’s fall season with the Sarasota Orchestra in the pit under the direction of Maestro DeRenzi.

And the winter season, which begins in February, will, along with “Giovanna d’Arco,” include 10 performances each of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” (aka “Cav & Pag”) and Mozart’s mystical “Magic Flute,” along with six family-friendly presentations — in English — of “Hansel and Gretel,” with English surtitles.

There are also artists concerts, outreach programs, the wonderful youth opera and a variety of other exciting events planned. For more information, visit

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