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Quick Facts 


Artistic Director: Victor DeRenzi
Executive Director: Richard Russell


The 2016 Verdi Cycle Grand Finale Season:


2015 Fall Season

October 30 – November 17, 2015


La bohème Giacomo Puccini
Brundibár Hans Krása (Sarasota Youth Opera production)


2016 Winter Opera Festival

January 30 – March 20, 2016


Aida Giuseppe Verdi
Così fan tutte Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Fidelio Ludwig van Beethoven
The Battle of Legnano Giuseppe Verdi


Number of seats: 1,119
Season ticket holders 2014-15: Subscriptions: 3,129
Opera admissions in 2012-13: 37,282
Opera admissions in 2013-14: 41,797

Opera admissions in 2014-15: 41,328
Budget (FY 2014): $8M

Budget (FY 2015): $8.6M




• Ticket revenues account for over 48% of our annual income.

• Over two thirds of our audience comes from outside Sarasota – 26% reside throughout the state of Florida and an additional 32% are from out of state (national and international).

• Sarasota Opera presents the only winter opera festival in North America and is the only place in the U.S. in the winter (other than the Metropolitan Opera), where you can enjoy four different operas in one weekend.

• We are one of eleven opera companies in the United States that owns its performing facility. There are more than 140 professional opera companies in the U.S.

• Sarasota Opera has been rated the #2 attraction in Sarasota (after the beaches) on TripAdvisor.

• The Sarasota Opera House, built in 1926 as the A.B. Edwards Theater, was purchased in 1979 for $150,000 and underwent a $20M historic renovation and restoration in 2007-08.

• During season, Sarasota Opera employs 250-275 artists, many of whom come from out of town and for whom we have to provide housing.

• As of 2014, Sarasota Opera has produced 124 operas by over 30 composers.

• Our website receives 80,000-100,000 hits per month.

• Sarasota Opera is reviewed in major newspapers and magazines throughout the country and in Europe.




Sarasota Opera was formed in 1960 as the Asolo Opera Guild to present the touring Turnau Opera at the historic Asolo Theatre on the grounds of the Ringling Museum. In 1972 the Asolo Opera began mounting its own productions with two pianos or small chamber orchestra.


In 1982, Victor DeRenzi became Artistic Director. The following year the company moved into the former Edwards Theater, a renovated vaudeville and movie house, and was renamed Sarasota Opera. For the first time productions were performed with orchestra. In 2013 Maestro DeRenzi conducted his 600th performance with the company.




Over the last 33 years, Sarasota Opera has grown to be an internationally acclaimed professional opera company. It has achieved world-class status and is one of the mainstays of this area’s cultural attraction.


Sarasota Opera has produced more than 123 different operas by more than 30 different composers and will produce more than 40 performances of operas and operatic concerts this season alone.

The Verdi Cycle, begun in 1989 and scheduled to finish in 2016, will include every opera in every alternative version by Italy’s greatest composer, Giuseppe Verdi. It will also include every non-operatic work as well, making Sarasota Opera the only opera company in the world to have performed all of the composer’s music.


The Masterworks Revival Series has presented little-performed operas of significant artistic value, many of which were American premieres. Works in Italian, German, French, Danish, Russian, Polish, and Czech have been part of this cycle. Titles have included Moniuzsko’s Halka, Nielsen’s Maskarade, Cilea’s L’arlesiana, Rachmaninov’s Francesca da Rimini, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Catalani’s La Wally, Humperdinck’s Königskinder, Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Bizet’s La Jolie Fille de Perth, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night.




The singers in the Apprentice Artists Program participate in an intense professional operatic experience. Sarasota Opera’s program, formed in 1983, is recognized as one of the finest in the nation, and each year over 200 singers audition in New York, Chicago, and Sarasota for one of the positions. Participants are attracted by the opportunity to sing small roles in the mainstage operas; intensive music, dramatic and language coaching; master classes; and the chance to perform on the main stage. Serving as the Sarasota Opera Chorus is also an important part of the program.


The Sarasota Opera Studio Artists Program performs a crucial role during season. Not only do they understudy leading roles, they also perform numerous supporting roles, expand the chorus when needed and act as ambassadors in the opera’s outreach initiatives. In past seasons, Studio Artists have often been called upon to substitute for an indisposed colleague, sometimes with little more than an hour’s notice. 


Many Studio and Apprentice Artists have gone on to perform at some of the world’s most prestigious opera companies, including Opéra National de Paris, La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Vienna Staatsoper among many others.




Sarasota Opera has conducted outreach programs for all of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. These programs bring opera to people who may not be able to come to the Opera House. These programs are given at schools, retirement homes, community centers, guild meetings, and other locations serving a cross section of our community.


Sarasota Opera has an extensive year-round youth activities program benefiting children from the ages of 8 to 19. All children may participate regardless of musical ability or ability to pay.


The annual three-week summer Youth Opera Workshop takes place in June. Professional instructors teach singing, acting, dancing, set design and other such topics connected with opera production. A child does not have to sing to be in this workshop, but can introduced to set design and other such stage crafts necessary to opera production. All the children are taught music.


The year-round Sarasota Youth Opera program, the most comprehensive Youth Opera program in the United States, consists of two performing choruses and a training chorus for young people ages 8–18. Sarasota Youth Opera members perform as part of the outreach program, participate in the mainstage productions, and present fully staged operas of their own annually.




Sarasota Opera employs 250 artists and technicians who come from across North America to live and work in Sarasota County for more than three months during season. Another 20 permanent administrative staff make Sarasota their home.


McKinsey & Company published a study stating that the economic impact of an arts organization in its community is 2.5 times its budget. For Sarasota Opera, our $8 million budget translates to $20,000,000 for the local economy. 


According to Americans for the Arts, non-profit arts attendees, like opera fans, spend an average of $24.60 (not including admission costs) per performance. Non-local audiences spend twice as much. 2/3 of Sarasota Opera’s audiences come from outside of Sarasota.


Click here to visit Sarasota Opera's website.


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