With cries of “Bravo!” echoing throughout the Sarasota Opera House, the company officially ended its 28-year Verdi Cycle, producing every note of music the great composer wrote for performance, with a Grand Finale Concert Sunday, March 20.
Artistic director Victor DeRenzi led the Sarasota Opera Orchestra and guest artists in a concert that featured works from Verdi’s lifetime of writing, including a duet from Attila, an aria from Macbeth, the Gypsy Chorus from Il Trovatore, a duet from Un ballo in maschera, a trio from Otello, and the master’s Te Deum, a thrilling conclusion to the evening as performed by the orchestra and the 60-plus-strong Sarasota Opera Chorus (under the guidance of chorus master Roger Bingaman).
That was the conclusion, at least, on the printed program, but of course it was followed by several encores welcoming Maestro DeRenzi back to the stage. (The evening was obviously an emotional highlight for DeRenzi, who at one point lost his baton as it sailed into his orchestra. He quickly replaced it.)
As the evening drew to a close, DeRenzi reminded his audience of how much of Verdi’s music the opera has brought to thousands of fans over the years, then told them it was their turn. With the help of surtitles and some Sarasota Youth Opera members who filled the aisles, the audience enthusiastically delivered “Va, pensiero,” the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco, before adjourning to an after party under tent just outside the opera house. Viva Verdi, indeed.