The 60th anniversary of the company will feature a return to many company favorites — including one by Verdi — along with two local premieres and a new concert series.
Sarasota Opera plans to shine even brighter this year.
In celebration of its diamond anniversary season, the opera will return to a classic Verdi piece, revive a successful youth opera production and present a new concert series outside of its regular season.
Maestro Victor DeRenzi and Executive Director Richard Russell announced the entire 2018-2019 season Feb. 2 at the Sarasota Opera House in front of press, supporters and several company artists. The opera singers performed several selections from next season’s works, and guests got a taste for what to expect from the 60th anniversary season.
The event concluded with the crowd singing along to a recording of Sarasota Opera’s favorite chorus, “Va, pensiero,” from its final performance of the company’s 28-year Verdi cycle in 2016.
“I missed him,” DeRenzi said to Russell onstage. “Are we doing all 28 again?”
“No,” Russell said definitively before bursting into laughter.
Russell said this past fall was the opera’s 10th and most successful fall season, which he and DeRenzi agree is due to more residents deciding to forgo their snowbird label and stay in Sarasota year round. It was a desire to entertain this growing audience of permanent residents that inspired them to create a new concert series separate from the opera season.
They’re both excited to bring new kinds of music to the opera’s well-versed audience, they said, but they will maintain a balance by returning to several classic works as well.
“We don’t want to grow beyond what we can do well,” DeRenzi said. “We won’t do anything just for the sake of it.”
The 2018-2019 Season
‘The Barber of Seville’
Oct. 26, 28, 31
Nov. 6, 8, 11
The 60th season of the Sarasota Opera will begin with “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, this opera tells the popular story of Doctor Bartolo, his ward Rosina and Figaro the barber — Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!
‘The Little Sweep’
Nov. 3 and 4
The Sarasota Youth Opera will revive its popular take on the production by Benjamin Britten, which follows a group of children and a compassionate nursery maid who band together to save a child chimney sweeper from his brutal master.
Feb. 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, 23, 28
March 3, 8, 15, 17, 22
Giacomo Puccini’s last opera returns after making its Sarasota Opera premiere in 2013 with sold-out performances. The plot follows Prince Calaf, a royal in exile, as he attempts to solve three riddles and win the hand of Princess Turandot.
‘The Magic Flute’
Feb. 16, 19, 21, 24, 27
March 1, 16, 21, 23
One of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most recognized operas is returning to the Sarasota Opera House after eight years. Follow the story of Tamino, who seeks to help save the daughter of the Queen from Sarastro with the help of a bird catcher and a magic flute.
March 2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 24
This beloved work by by Giuseppe Verdi hasn’t been performed by Sarasota Opera since 1995, and DeRenzi said both he and the audience have been asking for it. He’s excited to show off his company in this piece about the king of Babylon who takes the Hebrews into captivity while his daughter plots to seize the throne and the affection of her sister’s lover.
'Rita (Two Men and a Woman)'
March 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, 23
This Sarasota Opera premiere of Gaetano Donizetti’s one-act opera tells the story of inn owners Rita and Peppe when Rita’s first husband, who had supposedly drowned, returns and changes the couple’s life forever.
March 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, 23
The second Sarasota Opera premiere of the season follows Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s story of Count Gil and his mysterious wife Susanna who he suspects is cheating on him — but he can’t prove it.
This fall, Sarasota Opera’s new concert series will feature favorite Sarasota Opera artists accompanied by a pianist in four themed evenings at the Sarasota Opera House.
An Evening of Latin Music
Oct. 12, 2018
An Evening of Operetta
Operatic Favorites in Celebration of Sarasota Opera’s 60th Anniversary
April 5, 2019
Opera Composers in Song
May 10, 2019
For more information and to purchase tickets for the current season, visit sarasotaopera.org or call the Sarasota Opera Box Office at 328-1300.