Sarasota Youth Opera Fundraiser Welcomes New Partners And Returning Favorites, September 21

Sarasota Youth Opera Fundraiser Welcomes New Partners And Returning Favorites, September 21

The 6th annual Taste of Downtown Food & Wine Festival, happening at the historic Sarasota Opera House on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 1-4 pm, will feature some notable new eateries, including Lemon Tree Kitchen, Bridges Restaurant at Embassy Suites, Noela Chocolates, and Umbrellas 1296. They will join some of Sarasota's most popular restaurants, such as The Bijou Cafe, Michael's On East, and Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill, which have been notable partners in the festival from the very beginning. This community event benefiting Sarasota Youth Opera - the most comprehensive youth opera program in the United States - will feature the Youth Opera chorus performing selections from their upcoming production of Brundibár. Tickets to Taste of Downtown are $75 per person and are available at, at the Box Office located at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236, or by calling (941) 328-1300.

Since 1984, Sarasota Youth Opera has given thousands of young people an opportunity to experience opera first-hand through participation in after-school choruses, Sarasota Opera mainstage productions, summer workshops, and fully staged Youth Opera productions. As the only program in the United States committed to presenting annual full-scale opera productions for young voices, accepting all who wish to participate regardless of skill level or ability to pay, Sarasota Youth Opera is opera for everyone.

Sarasota Opera is entering its 61st 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 Artist's 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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