Giuseppe Verdi Returns to His American Home at Sarasota Opera with His First Great Success, NABUCCO

Giuseppe Verdi Returns to His American Home at Sarasota Opera with His First Great Success, NABUCCO

The last time Sarasota Opera performed Nabucco, the work that solidified Verdi's reputation as an opera composer, was in 1995. The production was part of the company's historic 28-year Verdi Cycle, a feat that made Sarasota Opera the only company in the world to have performed all of Verdi's music. John Fleming of the Tampa Bay Times called the Cycle "One of the most significant achievements in the opera world."

"I felt that Verdi's return to our Winter Festival should be acknowledged beyond our main stage performances," explained Sarasota Opera's Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi. "Verdi belongs to our whole community and I hope that taking him outside our Opera House will give everyone a chance to know more about him and better appreciate his accomplishments."

Starting this month, Sarasota Opera has created a number of events, talks, and concerts around the performances of Verdi's Nabucco, even featuring open rehearsals of Nabucco's "Va pensiero sull'ali dorate" where anyone can learn to sing opera's most famous chorus.


Learn to Sing "Va pensiero" and celebrate Verdi's Birthday

October 10, 2018 - 5 p.m.

Felding Hall - Join the Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists to celebrate Giuseppe Verdi's birthday by learning to sing the iconic chorus "Va pensiero sull'ali dorate" from his first great success, Nabucco. The event will conclude with a toast to Verdi and a birthday cake. FREE EVENT

Victor DeRenzi Talks about Verdi's Nabucco

December 13, 2018 - 5 p.m.

Kamlet Library - As the only person to have conducted all of Verdi's music, Maestro DeRenzi will share his insights into the Italian master and his works. FREE EVENT

Learn to Sing "Va pensiero" and go backstage

February 13, 2019 - 5 p.m.

Kamlet Library - Join us for another day to learn to sing "Va pensiero, sull'ali dorate." Following the rehearsal come backstage to see our Nabucco set close up. FREE EVENT

Round Table Discussion: Producing Early Verdi

February 28, 2019 - 5 p.m.

Kamlet Library - Moderated by stage director, Stephanie Sundine, this panel discussion will include stage director Martha Collins, costume designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan, and lighting designer Ken Yunker. Tickets: $25

Nabucco Performances-With Pre-Performance Introductions

March 2, 5, 7, 13, 16, and 19 at 7:30 p.m., March 10 and 24 at 1:30 p.m.

The William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera - Performances of Verdi's Nabucco. There will be free pre-performance introductions to the opera 45 minutes before the start of each performance in Felding Hall. Before the opening night performance on March 2, there will be a fanfare from the outside balcony of the Opera House. Opera tickets start at $19

Sarasota Youth Opera Concerts

Tuesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 12 - 6:30 p.m.

Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard - Sarasota Youth Opera singers will present concerts of music by Verdi before the performances of Nabucco (March 7), and the double bill of Rita & Susanna's Secret (March 12). FREE EVENT

Apprentice & Studio Artists Concert

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 12 p.m.

Venice Public Library - Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists will present a concert of Verdi songs and other music written around the time of Nabucco. FREE EVENT

Sarasota Opera Orchestra Concert

Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 12 p.m.

Lee and Bob Peterson Great Room - Members of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra will present a concert of instrumental transcriptions of music by Verdi. Tickets: $5

Apprentice & Studio Artists Concert

Friday, March 22, 2019 - 12 p.m.

Lee and Bob Peterson Great Room - Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists will present a concert of Verdi songs and other music written around the time of Nabucco. Tickets: $5

Look for us around town. You never know where Verdi's music might show up.


Sarasota Opera is entering its 60th Season of bringing world-class opera to Florida's Gulf Coast.

The company was launched in 1960, when a touring chamber opera company came to the historic 320-seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota's Ringling Museum of Art, and the Asolo Opera Guild was formed to present the season. By 1974 the Asolo Opera was mounting its own productions at the theater. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to full-scale opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater which in 1984 (as the Sarasota Opera House) became home to the newly renamed Sarasota Opera. The building underwent a $20 million renovation and rehabilitation in 2007 enhancing audience amenities, while updating the technical facilities including increasing the size of the orchestra pit. The theater, which reopened in March 2008, has been called "one of America's finest venues for opera" by Musical America.

Since 1983, the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi and administrative leadership of Executive Director Richard Russell since 2012. Sarasota Opera has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle, completed in 2016, that made Sarasota Opera the only opera company in the world to present all of Verdi's works. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice and Studio Artists' programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its Explorations in Opera performances for local schools and the industry-leading Sarasota Youth Opera program.

Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award from the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.

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