Sarasota Opera Announces Casting for the 2012 – 2013 Season


Sarasota Opera has just announced casting for the 2012 – 2013 fall and winter Season.

2012 Fall Season

The 2012 Fall Sarasota Opera Season will open with Giuseppe Verdi's RIGOLETTO, the opera chosen to be the first performed in the newly renovated opera house when it re-opened in 2008. Baritone Marco Nisticò, a Sarasota favorite since 2008 when he debuted as Figaro and who was most recently seen as the Consul Sharpless in last fall's MADAMA BUTTERFLY, will make his role debut as the vengeful court jester. Soprano Maria D'Amato, whose voice shone as Desdemona in last season's Otello, will sing the innocent jester's daughter Gilda. Mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson and tenor Hak Soo Kim, who both appeared in the recent production of LA CENERENTOLA, will make their role debuts as the seductive Maddalena and the lustful Duke of Mantua.

RIGOLETTO will open on October 26, 2012 and run through November 12, 2012.


In addition, the fall season will include the world premiere of Sarasota Youth opera's newest commission, LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND, with music by Daron Hagen and words by J.D. McClatchy. This will be mark Sarasota Youth Opera's 5th commission since the programs inception. Based on Winsor McCay's early-twentieth-centruy comic strip, LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND is a 60 minute, two-act magic opera. The story recounts the adventures of a boy over the course of two nights on a quest to save Slumberland from the evil Emperor Sol who wants it to be bright all night and all day. Nemo's adventures along the way include encounters with a crystal enchantress, menacing giants, a floating bed and a balloon ride, dizzying changes of scale and a palace that turns upside down.

A consortium of local and national arts and educational organizations have agreed to help support this production including Booker High School, Out of Door Academy, Ringling School of Art and Design and the University of Kentucky Opera Theater. LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND will utilize a new leading edge, innovative theater technology, SCRIBE (Self-Contained Rapidly Integratable Background Environment), which was piloted at the University of Kentucky. This technology, which has been successfully used in productions at the University of Kentucky Opera Theater and The Atlanta Opera, will help meet the creative challenge presented by bringing such a fantasy based story to life.

There will be two performances on November 10 and 11, 2012. Casting will be announced at a later date.

2013 Winter Festival


The 2013 Winter Festival will open with the Sarasota Opera premiere of Giacomo Puccini's vocally extravagant final opera TURANDOT. Soprano Brenda Harris and tenor JoNathan Burton will both make their Sarasota Opera and role debuts as the icy Turandot and the determined prince Calaf. Possessing a voice that has been described as "drop dead gorgeous" and "soaring on high", Ms. Harris has established herself as one of America's finest sopranos tackling leading roles on some of the world's most prominent opera companies and orchestras. Mr. Burton is quickly establishing himself as a leading tenor to watch with a voice described by Opera News as possessing "thrilling power and beauty". Maria D'Amato will sing the slave girl Liù, with Young Bok Kim as Calaf's father, Timur, and Matthew Hanscom as Ping.


Following TURANDOT, Sarasota Opera will travel back to ancient Sri Lanka and revive its much in demand 2003 production of Georges Bizet's THE PEARL FISHERS. Tenor Heath Huberg, a former studio artist who sang the roles of Remendado in Carmen and as Cassio in OTELLO last season, will sing Nadir and baritone Lee Poulis, who debuted as the sinister Don Giovanni in 2011 which was followed by his performance as the conniving Lord Enrico Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor, will sing the role of Zurga. Soprano Asako Tamura, who sang Cio-Cio San in MADAMA BUTTERFLY as "beautifully as her superb acting", will return to portray the priestess Leila.


In partnership with the American Institute of Verdi Studies, Sarasota Opera will present the world premiere of a new critical edition (transcribeddirectly from Verdi's manuscript) of Giuseppe Verdi's A KING FOR A DAY (Un giorno di regno), Verdi's second opera and his first comedy.

Of this production, artistic director Maestro Victor DeRenzi says, "It is part of our artistic vision to present all ofVerdi's rarely performed works along with the more mainstream pieces. Our audience has cometo recognize and appreciate the artistic value of these early works, and we are proud to be one ofthe only opera companies in the United States to present them." 2013 will also mark the 200th anniversary of Verdi's birth.

Making his role and Sarasota Opera debut, baritone Corey Crider will lead the cast as the Cavaliere di Belfiore. Bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo will return to sing the Baron di Kelbar, soprano Danielle Walker will sing his daughter, Giuletta di Kelbar, and tenor Hak Soo Kim will sing Edoardo di Sanval, Giuletta's love interest and source of anger for her father, the Baron. Rounding out the cast will be bass-baritone Kevin Short, as Lord La Rocca, who was last seen as Pagano in I Lombardi alla prima crociata. A true Verdi rarity, A King for a Day will be the 29th opera in the company's continuing Verdi Cycle.


Finally, Sarasota Opera will present Carlisle Floyd's OF MICE AND MEN, a continuation of the American Classics Series. Baritone Sean Anderson, who gave what was referred to by Opera News as a "richly diabolical performance" as Iago in last season's OTELLO, returns to his American roots to make his role debut as George. He will be joined by tenor Corey Bix as Lennie whose recent portrayal of the same role was called a "tour-de-force performance" by the Salt Lake Tribune.

As was done in previous seasons, Sarasota Opera will again partner with the Sarasota Film Festival and the Asolo Conservatory to present its series of popular educationspecifically designed to help familiarize and educate the Sarasota Opera audience about this important work.

The four productions will run in rotation from February 9 through March 24, 2013.

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