Sarasota Opera to launch American opera series in 2011

By Lawrence A. Johnson

In an economically straitened time when most opera companies seem to be running away from offbeat repertory in general—and American opera in particular—at least one company is fighting against the regressive tide.

Starting in 2011, Sarasota Opera will present one American opera every season as part of a new “American Classics,” series recently announced by the company.

Victor DeRenzi

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” said Sarasota’s artistic director and chief conductor Victor DeRenzi. “A lot of companies are pulling back and not doing this repertoire, and just doing Puccini, Verdi, and Rossini.

“Obviously we’ll continue to do those composers as well,” he said. “But with our Verdi cycle winding down, I thought it’s about time that someone does something like this for American opera, and it might as well be us.”

The “American Classics” series will launch with Robert Ward’s The Crucible in 2011. Future seasons will bring Barber’s Vanessa and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men.

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5 Responses to “Sarasota Opera to launch American opera series in 2011”

  1. Posted Mar 10, 2010 at 7:51 pm by William

    This is an admirable thing to do for the opera world (expose people to American operas we hardly get to see), but I have a feeling it will not be as popular as the rare Verdi operas they have been doing. I think once they finish the Verdi cycle, they should rerun all of them.

  2. Posted Mar 16, 2010 at 5:13 pm by Len

    I think William underestimates this company’s audience. There have been many flops in the archive of American operas but also many successes. Presented with quality choices, people should be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Posted Mar 18, 2010 at 8:20 pm by William

    I hope I have underestimated the audience, and I wish them luck with this new venture. I hope they do View from a Bridge.

  4. Posted Mar 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm by William

    By the way, Sarasota Opera makes an announcement about cell phones before the operas which is good, but I think it should announce, “And please refrain from humming along with the opera” b/c it happens so frequently there. I don’t understand it. It must be an old person’s thing to do, b/c they are always really old and obviously love opera enough to know the tunes even in rare pieces, but they are old enough to know not to do that. We pay to hear the singers, not them! It is a shame that old people don’t know how to behave and that Sarasota Opera would have to make an announcement like this.

  5. Posted Mar 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm by Elaine

    William- with the presentation of American Operas, this is a surefire solution to the humming problem- no one will know the tunes!!

    I think it’s great- Sarsaota is a wonderful company- much success to them with this venture!

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Wed Mar 10, 2010
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