Sarasota Opera Presents RITA And SUSANNA'S SECRET

On Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 7:30pm, the curtain will rise on Rita (Two Men and a Woman) and Susanna's Secret, two one-act operas that are sure to bring a smile to the audience. The light evening of comic story lines and beautiful music is perfect for the first-time goer, while the rarity of the pairing and authenticity of the production will satisfy even the most sophisticated opera lover. A playful look at marital discord is at the heart of both Donizetti's Rita and Wolf-Ferrari's Susanna's Secret, but the conflicts resolve themselves in very different ways, both musically and dramatically. The darkly comic Rita (originally titled Two Men and a Woman) is about a mercurial and domineering woman who has re-married after mistakenly thinking her first husband has died. When he reappears unexpectedly, a showdown arises between her two husbands to decide the outcome-who has to remain married to Rita, and who gets to leave the exasperating situation. In Susanna's Secret, a jealous husband smells tobacco on his wife's clothes and is convinced that she is having an affair. He searches and searches but can't seem to catch her in the act. What could her secret be?

A talented trio of artists will serve as the cast for both of these works. Returning artists include soprano Elizabeth Tredent (La traviata, The Love of Three Kings) who will sing the title roles of Rita and Susanna, and baritone Marco Nisticò (La traviata, Aida) who will sing the roles of Gaspar in Rita and Count Gil in Susanna's Secret. Rounding out the trio will be tenor William Davenport who will be making his Sarasota Opera debut in the roles of Pepé in Rita and as the mute Sante in Susanna's Secret. Marcello Cormio (Così fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro) returns to conduct. JJ Hudson will make his Sarasota Opera debut as stage director.

With only six performances, tickets to this rare double bill are moving quickly. Performances will take place on March 9, 12, 14, and 20 at 7:30pm and March 17 and 23 at 1:30pm. There will be free pre-performance introductions to the opera 45 minutes before the start of each performance in Felding Hall. Rita (Two Men and a Woman) by Gaetano Donizetti is sung in French with English translations displayed above the stage. Susanna's Secret by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari is sung in Italian with English translations displayed above the stage. Individual tickets start at only $19 and are available at SarasotaOpera.org and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office.

For more information on Rita and Susanna's Secret as well as the rest of the 2019 season-Puccini's Turandot, Mozart's The Magic Flute, and Verdi's Nabucco, visit SarasotaOpera.org, contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300, or visit in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Sarasota Opera is celebrating 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. The following year 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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