Maestro DiRenzi presents Verdi’s “Nabucco” again in Sarasota.

The last time Sarasota Opera performed “Nabucco,” the work that solidified Verdi’s reputation as an opera composer, was in 1995. The production was part of the company’s historic 28-year Verdi Cycle, a feat that made Sarasota Opera the only company in the world to have performed all of Verdi’s music. John Fleming of the Tampa Bay Times called the Cycle “One of the most significant achievements in the opera world.”

“I felt that Verdi’s return to our Winter Festival should be acknowledged beyond our main stage performances,” Sarasota Opera’s Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi said. “Verdi belongs to our whole community and I hope that taking him outside our Opera House will give everyone a chance to know more about him and better appreciate his accomplishments.”

Starting this month, Sarasota Opera has created a number of events, talks, and concerts around the performances of Verdi’s “Nabucco,” even featuring open rehearsals of Nabucco’s “Va pensiero sull’ali dorate” where anyone can learn to sing opera’s most famous chorus.

The special events begin Oct. 10.

Learn to Sing “Va pensiero” and celebrate Verdi’s Birthday

Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. in Felding Hall which is just off the opera house’s Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard. Join Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists to celebrate Verdi’s birthday by learning to sing the iconic chorus “Va pensiero sull’ali dorate” from his first great success, “Nabucco.” The event will conclude with a toast to Verdi and a birthday cake. This event is free.

Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Maestro DeRenzi will share his insight into Verdi and “Nabucco” in the Opera’s Kamlet Library. This event is free and open to the public.

Feb. 13 at 5 p.m., learn to sing “Va pensiero, sull’ali dorate” in the Kamlet Library and then go backstage in the opera house to see the Nabucco set close up. This is a free event.

Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. there will be a round table discussion in the Kamlet Library on producing early works by Verdi. Thre event will be moderated by Stephanie SUndine. The panel will include stage director Martha Collins, costume designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan, and lighting designer Ken Yunker. Tickets for this special event are $25 per person.

“Nabucco” with pre-performance introductions will be presented March 2, 5, 7, 13, 16, and 19 at 7:30 p.m., March 10 and 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre at the Sarasota Opera House. The free pre-performance introductions to the opera will begin 45 minutes before the start of each performance in Felding Hall. Before the opening night performance on March 2, there will be a fanfare from the outside balcony of the Opera House. Opera tickets start at $19 per person.

Sarasota Youth Opera Concerts

Tuesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. Sarasota Youth Opera singers will present concerts of music by Verdi in the Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard before the performances of “Nabucco” on March 7 and the double bill of “Rita & Susanna’s Secret” on March 12. This is a free event.

Special event at Venice Public Library

Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists will present a concert of Verdi songs and other music written around the time of” Nabucco” at noon on Tuesday March 12 in the new Venice Public Library. This is a free event.

More events in Sarasota

Members of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra will present a concert of instrumental transcriptions of music by Verdi at noon on Thursday, March 14. The performance will take place in the Lee and Bob Petrson Great Room. Tickets are $5.

Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists will present a concert of Verdi songs and other music written around the time of “Nabucco” at noon on Friday, March 22 in the Lee and Bob Peterson Great Room. Tickets are $5

Keep your eyes and ears open. Other events may occur throughout the opera season.

About Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera is entering 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, and 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.


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