Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rave Reviews

Richard Storm in the Sarasota Herald Tribune calls Friday's opening night performance of The Barber of Seville "nearly flawless."

Read the whole review at the Herald Tribune site.

Tickets are going fast, so call (941) 366-8450, ext. 1 today to get yours. We are also happy that online ticket purchase is once again available at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Opening Night of Barber of Seville

Tonight is the opening night for our first Fall Opera production: The Barber of Seville. There is a lot of great interest due to the fact that this is our 50th Season and the first time that the Sarasota Orchestra will be in the pit.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune came by the dress rehearsal and got a few more photos. They are now posted on their website.

WWSB-TV (ABC 7) was also by and Linda Carson featured the production on Suncoast Scene. There is some video on their site as well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Grand Overture

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, November 2, by Jay Handelman.
To the musical cry of “Figaro, Figaro, Fee-gah-roh,” the Sarasota Opera opens a new chapter in its history Friday night with its first full production staged in the fall.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rehearsals Begin

Everyone at Sarasota Opera is very excited for our first fall production. Rehearsals for The Barber of Sevile began on Monday. The principal artists are busy at work and the apprentices arrive tomorrow.

Here our Figaro, Marco Nisticò rehearses his duet with Rosina under the baton of Maestro DeRenzi (with assistant conductor Kristen Kemp at the piano. One of the perks of my job is the opportunity to peak in at rehearsals and I can tell you that what I heard yesterday got me very excited.

I hope that you're excited. If you haven't purchased your tickets, make sure that you do soon. Visit for more information and call (941) 366-8450, ext. 1 for tickets.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sarasota Opera "Open" House

Do you know someone who has wandered by the Sarasota Opera House, wondered what was inside, but have never come in? Introduce them to the wonderful Sarasota Opera House by bringing them to the Sarasota Opera "Open" House on Monday, October 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.

This free event is the perfect way for the curious to visit the newly renovated historic theater. The building will be open with performances by artists participating in our fall season throughout the theater including the Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard, the William G. and Marie Selby Lobby and of course on the stage of the William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre. The director of our first fall opera production The Barber of Seville William Gustafson will chat about the opera. The backstage area will be open for tours. And, oh yes, there will be complimentary refreshments. The first 1,000 attendees will also receive a free gift.

Let us know you are coming by emailing just so we know to have enough food (but if you forget, come anyway!).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maestro on Florida Matters

An interview with Maestro DeRenzi will be aired on WUSF-FM 89.7 as part of their continuing series Florida Matters.

Maestro DeRenzi talks about the upcoming season on this episode which airs on Friday evening Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. and again on Sunday morning, Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. You can also listen online at the WUSF website or subscribe to the Florida Matters podcast.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good Luck Peter!

Although my name has appeared on the side of this blog since its existence, the real person behind it has been Peter Hussell. Peter guided the renovation of the Sarasota Opera through its many phases including fundraising and construction. He lived with it day after day and as much as anyone deserved to take a bow on Opening Night. He labored tirelessly to make sure that everything went right.

And it was he, who took almost all of the pictures that you've seen here and updated you on the project's progress.

Peter has decided to move on to pursue other ventures. Since he'll still be in Sarasota we hope to see him around the Opera House and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. He will most certainly be missed by all of us.

Good luck Peter!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thank You!

More than anyone, all of you who come to the Opera and support our continued artistic excellence deserve a huge Thank You! The Sarasota Opera House is your opera house, and it is a tremendous legacy for all of us to pass on to future Sarasotans.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Grand Re-Opening Gala

Joan Wood celebrates with the crowed at the Opening Night Gala.

Joel Fedder, Building Committee Chair, with Architect Killis Almond

Victor Passero, Ed Watts, Robin Cote, Clark Wright, and David Otterness of Willis Smith Construction with Executive Director Susan Danis.

Per-Erik Lindqvist, Wolfgang Berz, Alexandra Berz, Sandra Lindqvist.

Dr. Angelo Fatta, Virginia Toulmin, Dory Vanderhoof, Joan Wood.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Renovation Team

Scott Merritt and Matthew Bower of the National City Private Client Group, welcome the audience to the newly renovated theater.

Marc Scorca, CEO of OPERA America, introduces the renovation team.

The Sarasota Opera Staff: Ken Kwiatkowski, Sarah Thomas, Ben Dick, Courtney Balok, Jeanne Smith, Jessica Plaut, Kyle Daniels, Melissa Lane, Rita Chamberlain, Patricia Horwell, Susan Ashcraft, Becky Taylor, Karl Hesser, and Richard Russell.

Subcontractor on the renovation.

Andy Dorr, George McGonagill, Jorge Rivera and Julius Davis of VoltAir Consulting Engineers, Greg Cahanin, Hank Lam, and Ken Garcia and Larry Fried of Abel Garcia Architects.

Chris Sprague and Todd Hensley of Schuler Shook Theater Planners and Carlos Rivera and Russ Cooper of Jaffe Holden Acoustics.

Dennis and Connie Towers of McKinley Griffen Design & Advertising (left) along with the decorative painting team from Dean Tippin Studios and Decorative Effects Inc. Lead by Martha Tippin and Susan Nilon (right)

Willis A. Smith Construction management team: Warren Simonds, Fred Cavaluzzi, John LaCivita, and David Sessions.

Willis A. Smith Construction field team: Victor Passero, Clark Wright, Ed Watts, Superintendant Robin Cote, and Project Manager David Otterness.

Project Architect: Killis Almond, FAIA of Killis Almond and Associates.

Sarasota Opera Executive Director, Susan T. Danis

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Opening Night - March 1, 2008

Patrons in the theater for the first time.

Mr. and Mrs. Murphy

Victoria Leopold enjoys good company in the McCorkle Lounge.

Pat Hull, Alma Abshier, Dick Hull.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Opera House Ribbon Cutting

The Opera House is wrapped with a large gold ribbon. With a few snips from donors representing the 1500 supporters of the project, audiences were welcomed into the theater.

Betsy Bagby

Victoria and Harry Leopold

Bill and Casiana Schmidt

Alisa and Ernie Kretzmer

Maestro Victor DeRenzi and Susan Danis address the crowd. Jerry Waterman and Virginia Toulmin look on.

Audiences entering the Opera House for the first time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Preparing for the Big Night

A few days ahead of March 1, 2008 a large tent is errected behind the Opera House. As the big night draws near, it is decked out for the post performance Gala.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rigoletto Rehearsal

The orchestra rehearses with Maestro DeRenzi in the newly expanded pit. On stage is the set for Rigoletto.

Monday, May 12, 2008

First Notes

To celebrate the re-opening, Opera supporters were welcomed to the theater by Susan Danis and Maestro DeRenzi for a 'First Notes' dinner followed by a dress rehearsal of 'Rigoletto'.