Sarasota, FL— Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, and Richard Russell, General Director, are pleased to announce casting for the 2022-2023 Fall and Winter Seasons at Sarasota Opera. We are eager to welcome back returning artists, as well as new artists making their company debuts, to the opera stage.
2022 FALL FESTIVAL
Sarasota Opera will begin the 2022 Fall Season with Domenico Cimarosa’s comedy The Secret Marriage (Il matrimonio segreto), which has never been performed at Sarasota Opera. This production will feature six returning Sarasota Opera artists, five of whom were featured in our Winter 2022 season. Principal soprano Hanna Brammer, who sang Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de perles, will be reappearing on the Sarasota Opera stage as Carolina, the youngest of two daughters living under their father’s care. Her older sister, Elisetta, will be played by soprano Brenna Markey, who made her Sarasota Opera debut this past winter as a studio artist. The sisters’ aunt, Fidalma, will be played by Lisa Chavez, who has most recently appeared as La Marquise de Berkenfield in last season’s production of La Fille du régiment. Carolina and Elisetta’s father, Geronimo, will be played by Italian bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo, last heard here as The Sacristan in Tosca and Leone in Attila. Baritone Filippo Fontana, last seen as Lescaut in Manon Lescaut in the Winter 2018 and as Marcello in the Winter 2020 production of La bohème, will play Count Robinson.
Victor DeRenzi will conduct The Secret Marriage with Stephanie Sundine as the Stage Director. The Secret Marriage will have five performances throughout the fall season, which opens on October 28th.
The Fall 2022 Season will also include Sarasota Youth Opera’s performances of The Secret World of Og by Canadian composer Dean Burry. The orchestration for this work was commissioned specifically for Sarasota Youth Opera and was premiered here in 2016. The story of The Secret World of Og, adapted from the popular children’s book by Canadian author Pierre Berton, follows a group of siblings who venture into the subterranean world of the Og’s to rescue their baby brother and cat. This story has been a favorite with Canadian children since it was first introduced in the 1960’s. All roles will be sung by members of the Sarasota Youth Opera Program. Director of Education, Martha Collins, will direct The Secret World of Og with Sarasota Youth Opera Music Director Jesse Martins conducting. The Secret World of Og will have 2 performances during the fall season on November 5 and 6.
2023 WINTER OPERA FESTIVAL
The 2023 Winter Opera Festival at Sarasota Opera will open on February 18, 2023 with one of Giacomo Puccini’s most popular operas, Madama Butterfly. A Sarasota Opera audience favorite since 1968, the story follows Cio-Cio San, a young geisha often called Madama Butterfly, who marries an American naval officer, B.F. Pinkerton. Making her Sarasota Opera debut in the title role will be soprano Raquel Gonzáles, who was recently heard in Harvey Milk at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and as Mimì in La bohème at Virginia Opera. She is a former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist at Washington National Opera. Also making his Sarasota Opera debut will be tenor Christopher Oglesby, who will sing the role of Pinkerton. Mr. Oglesby was an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera where among his roles were Jacquino in Fidelio and Edmondo in Manon Lescaut. He also performed the role of Boris in Janacek’s Kát’a Kabanová at West Edge Opera in San Francisco. Butterfly’s faithful maid, Suzuki, will be played by Heather Johnson, whose past roles with Sarasota Opera include Maddalena in Rigoletto, Angelina in La Cenerentola, and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. Also a returning artist, Italian baritone Filippo Fontana will sing the role of Sharpless, the US Consul. Mr. Fontana has previously sung on international stages, including famed opera houses La Scala and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.
Stephanie Sundine returns to direct and Victor DeRenzi will conduct. This production will feature sets designed by David P. Gordon. Madama Butterfly will have ten performances throughout the winter season from February 18 through March 24, 2023.
Mozart’s comedy, Don Giovanni, will be the second opera offered in the 2023 Winter Festival. This story follows a licentious nobleman, Don Giovanni, who will be played by bass-baritone David Weigel. Mr. Weigel made his Sarasota Opera debut last winter singing Angelotti in Tosca and Nourabad in Les Pêcheurs de perles. Bass Stefano de Peppo will play Don Giovanni’s complicit side-kick, Leporello. Longtime audience favorite Young Bok Kim returns after his Winter 2022 role as Attila to play the role of Il Commendatore. Making her Sarasota Opera debut in the role of Donna Anna will be Erica Petrocelli. Ms. Petrocelli has previously sung in opera houses such as the LA Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Singing the role of Don Ottavio, will be Brian Vu. Mr. Vu will likewise make his Sarasota Opera debut in this role, having sung most recently at Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. Caitlin Crabill, who recently starred as Tosca in winter of 2022, will play Donna Elvira, another of Don Giovanni’s conquests. Zerlina, another one of Don Giovanni’s attempted seductions, will be played by soprano Anna Mandina. Ms. Mandina was heard at Sarasota Opera as Liù in Turandot in 2019, and has most recently appeared as Mimì in La bohème during the Winter 2022 festival. With eight performances between February 25 and March 25, Marcello Cormio will return to conduct Don Giovanni, with Mark Freiman as the stage director. David P. Gordon will be the scenic designer.
Verdi’s Ernani, last seen at Sarasota Opera in 1997, will be the third offering in the Winter Opera Festival. Rafael Davila, longtime favorite of Sarasota Opera audiences, will sing the title role of outlawed bandit Ernani. Mr. Davila has previously performed leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Washington National Opera, Teatro San Carlo, and other international companies. The three remaining principal artists will all be making their Sarasota Opera debuts this season. Canadian-Italian soprano Aviva Fortunata will play the role of Elvira, a young noblewoman who is the object of three men’s attention. Ms. Fortunata has recently performed with Pacific Opera Victoria and l’Orchestra symphonique de Québec and sang the title role in Bellini’s Norma with Dallas Opera. Don Carlo, the King of Spain, will be sung by baritone <span data-contrast=”none” lang=”EN-US” class=”TextRun SCXW94942647 BCX0″ style=”margin:0px;user-select:text;font-variant-ligatures:none !important;color:rgb(…