Artist Series Concerts celebrates Mother’s Day and closes out its 23rd season with “An Afternoon of Operetta,” at 4 p.m. May 12 at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.
Soloists Emily Martin, Stacey Rishoi, Mark Lubas, Luis González and Garrett Obrycki are joined by singers from Choral Artists of Sarasota for a program showcasing highlights of popular operettas, including Offenbach’s “Can-Can” and “Barcarolle,” von Suppé’s “Poet and Peasant” overture and much more. The performance also features a condensed concert version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” that includes “Poor Wandering One,” “The Pirate King,” “The Modern Major General” and others. Joseph Holt takes to the keyboards for the production, joined by Daniel Jordan, violin, Samantha Bennett, violin, Steven Laraia, viola and Natalie Helm, cello, all principal musicians with the Sarasota Orchestra. A post-concert reception with the artists will be held immediately after the performance on the second floor of the Opera House.
“Charming, witty, sophisticated and unabashedly romantic, operetta has delighted audiences worldwide for over two centuries and the first part of this program celebrates the 200th anniversary of two godfathers of the form, Jacques Offenbach and Franz von Suppé,” says Joseph Holt, artistic director of Artist Series Concerts. “Little jewels and gems, some familiar alongside a few novel treasures, highlight these titans of the operetta world, complemented by a miniconcert version of ‘The Pirates of Penzance,’ Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic comic operetta that was certainly inspired by the works of Offenbach and von Suppé. It’s going to be a lively cavalcade of the best of operetta, performed by an outstanding cast of singers and instrumentalists.”
The five soloists featured in the production are no strangers to operetta or to area stages. Soprano Emily Martin was hailed for her “enchanting iridescence” when she performed with the Sarasota Opera. She’s brought a variety of musical characters to life with the Chautauqua, Santa Fe and Palm Beach Operas, as well as with Opera Nevada and Skylight Music Theater.
Mezzo soprano Stacey Rishoi has received critical acclaim on concert stages across the U.S. for the beauty and power of her mezzo-soprano voice. She recently returned to Cincinnati Opera to sing the title role of “Carmen,” and has also played Amneris in Opera Tampa’s “Aida” and Adalgisa in “Norma” with Virginia Opera. Of her Adalgisa, the Washington Post wrote that Rishoi “nearly stole the show with a performance that was convincing and unwavering from start to finish.”
Tenor Mark Lubas has performed major roles with companies across the country, including Boston Lyric Opera, Mobile Opera and Opera Carolina. He premiered the role of Joe, the Boxer in Brian Holse’s “The Game” at the Kennedy Center. Now settled in Sarasota, Lubas continues to perform with Choral Artists of Sarasota and Opera Tampa.
Praised for his outstanding musicianship, magnetic stage presence and smooth, flexible voice, baritone Luis González has performed throughout the United States with Opera Tampa, Opera San José, St. Petersburg Opera, Crested Butte Music Festival, the Florida Orchestra, Choral Artists of Sarasota and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. González is also the associate director of Choral Artists of Sarasota.
Fresh off performances with the Sarasota Opera in “The Barber of Seville” and “The Magic Flute,” baritone Garrett Obrycki is distinguishing himself as a singer to watch in the world of classical music. Other recent roles include a critically acclaimed performance of Hamlet with Opera Ithaca (“riveting”), Atticus Finch’s Trainer in “The Finch Opera” with Opera Saratoga and as Belcore in Middlebury Opera Company’s production of Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love.”
The production is rounded out by singers from Choral Artists of Sarasota, pianist Joseph Holt, and four noted area instrumentalists: Daniel Jordan violin; Samantha Bennett, violin; Steven Laraia, viola; and Natalie Helm, cello. All four are principal musicians with the Sarasota Orchestra.
Artist Series Concerts’ managing director John Fischer says he’s pleased to close Artists Series Concerts’ 23rd season with this high-spirited concert. “It’s on Mother’s Day and we can’t imagine a better way to celebrate mom than with the enduring and uplifting appeal of an afternoon of operetta.”
Tickets for the concert are $20 — $55. Ticket for the reception are $35 and include an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. All tickets are available online at www.artistseriesconcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Student tickets for the concert, priced at $10, are available with current student ID at the door.