BWW Review: TASTE OF DOWNTOWN at Sarasota Opera House
Taste of Downtown is a yearly fundraising soirée held at the Sarasota Opera House to benefit the Sarasota Youth Opera. Now in its 5th year, the event hosted a broad selection of Sarasota's favorite restaurants showcasing upscale delectables, craft beers and fine wines. Patrons also enjoyed a complimentary photo op, a Sarasota Opera etched wine glass and a few selections sung by the Youth Opera. The fundraiser is the perfect opportunity to mix and mingle, try out local fare and support Sarasota's accomplished Youth Opera.
Those attending the event were treated of the tastings of Pork Belly Skewers with Pineapple Miso from the Bijou Café, Crepe Suzettes by Café L"Europe, Classico Sarasota offered Escargot in Puffed Pastry, Currents, Hyatt Regency Sarasota provided Sesame Crusted Tuna Nicoise Salad, Duval's prepared Sweet Soy Chili glazed Tuna Skewers, EVOQ, The Westin Sarasota offered Lobster Mac & Cheese Croquettes, Mattison's had Pork Belly Tacos, Michael's On East made Herbed Meatballs with Spaetzle, Salmon, Pork and Brisket was on the table from Nancy's Bar-B-Q,, H2O Bistro from Hotel Indigo crafted Steak Crostini with Caramelized Onions and Brie, Tsunami Sushi & Habiachi Grill offered an array of Assorted Sushi. Sweet tooth offerings came from Five-O Donuts serving Mini Doughnuts, Chocolate Fondue from the Melting Pot, and Assorted Bundt Cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Rounding off dining were coffee selections by Kahwa Coffee making Espressos, Lattes and Cappuccinos. Beer, wine and cocktails were showcased from Bronco Wines - Crane Lake Red and Carmenet selections, Republic National Distributing Company - Marchesini Italy, Mercer Washington, Codorniu classic Spain, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing - Beer selections and Nautical Gin.
Founded in 1984, the Sarasota Youth Opera is the only program in the United States that offers an opportunity for young people to participate in after-school choruses, mainstage Opera productions, fully staged Youth Opera renderings and summer workshops. The Sarasota Youth Opera is under the direction of Maestro Jesse who has dedicated his career to working as an accompanist in his home country of Brazil, and also New Zealand, England, and the United States. He holds a Master of Arts in Collaborative Piano from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil).
This year the Sarasota Youth Opera will present a revival of Britten's opera-The Little Sweep, a story of a group of children and a kind nursery maid who join forces to free a young chimney sweep apprentice from his cruel master. This opera was specifically written to introduce young people to opera. Past productions include The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Ocean World, The Piper of Hamelin, and The Hobbit, to name a few.
The Opera's website states, "Beginning at age 8, singers are placed in one of two chorus levels. Each chorus provides a setting for everyone to participate and progress at their own level as they gain greater skills and experience. Selections performed are made up of classical music, which includes opera and choral pieces in different languages. The choruses perform throughout the community in formal concerts and outreach events. Members of the Youth Opera are selected to join Sarasota Opera's Winter Festival season, appearing in the mainstage childrens chorus, as supernumeraries (extras who perform non-singing roles) and for special roles written by the composer for children's voices. In recent seasons these have included roles in The Magic Flute, la Bohème, Tosca, and Carmen. Singers are involved in the complete production process - from early music and dramatic rehearsals to performing alongside opera professionals. "
To learn more about Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Youth Opera visit www.sarasotaopera.org.