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Sarasota Opera names Melissa Voigt development director

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  • | 5:00 a.m. June 21, 2024
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The Sarasota Opera has named Melissa Voigt director of development.

Voigt's promotion was recently announced by Richard Russell, the opera's general director, and Victor DeRenzi, artistic director.

This is the second time in her career that Voigt has served as director of development for the Sarasota Opera. She was promoted to the post in 2002 after joining the opera in 2000 as an individual giving officer. 

Melissa Voigt
Courtesy image

During her first tenure, she led the completion of the $20 million capital campaign that funded the renovation of the historic Sarasota Opera House, where the company has performed since 1984.

Voigt left the opera in 2009 to pursue other opportunities, including serving as director of development at both the Child Protection Center and the Van Wezel Foundation. She returned to the Sarasota Opera in 2021 as senior development officer.

“It will be my sincere joy to serve the Sarasota Opera, supporters and community in this role. Sarasota Opera has always felt like home to me, and it is a pleasure to support Richard Russell, Maestro DeRenzi, our Board of Trustees and my colleagues to elevate our programs and artistic excellence,” Voigt said in a statement. 

Commenting on Voigt's appointment, Russell said, “I’m thrilled to have Melissa Voigt return as our Director of Development. She has a long history of success in fundraising with the company and the community and I know she will help us achieve even greater heights." 

Founded in 1960 in the Historic Asolo Theater on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art, the Sarasota Opera has been under the artistic leadership of DeRenzi since 1983. Russell has served as managing director since 2012.

Through initiatives such as the Masterworks Revival Series and the Verdi Cycle, the Sarasota Opera has established itself as a leading cultural attraction in the southeast United States. Its winter festival attracts scores of opera lovers to the Sarasota area. 

Following its renovation, the Sarasota Opera House was named "one of America's finest venues for opera" by Musical America. In addition to being the home of the Sarasota Opera, the historic building hosts performances by the Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Ballet and other arts groups as well as screenings of classic films and high-definition video operas in series curated by the Sarasota Opera.


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