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The Next Sarasota Opera Season Offers "Sarasota Firsts"--and No Verdi.

The 2016-17 Sarasota Opera season features several Sarasota debuts.

By Kay Kipling April 20, 2016

Even before the Sarasota Opera finished its history-making Verdi Cycle last month, the company had announced its 2016-17 season—the first in 28 years not to include an opera by Verdi.

Instead, the season will include a number of firsts for the opera—works never performed on the Sarasota Opera House stage before, along with a couple of returning favorites.

The opera begins its fall season with Donizetti’s rollicking Don Pasquale, a premiere onstage Oct. 28 and 30 and Nov. 2, 7, 10 and 13. Unhappy with his only heir, Ernesto, Don Pasquale resolves to marry and have himself another. Pasquale’s friend, Malatesta, helps Ernesto and his beloved, Norina, hatch a plan to make sure everyone ends up satisfied.

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Also in November, the Sarasota Youth Opera will present the Sarasota premiere of The Secret World of Og by Canadian composer Dean Burry. Adapted from the children’s book by Pierre Berton, the story follows a group of siblings who venture into the dark subterranean world of the Ogs to rescue their baby brother and cat. Onstage Nov. 12.

The 2017 winter season kicks off with Puccini’s ever-popular Madama Butterfly, opening Feb. 11 and continuing with 11 performances in all through March 25. The tragic story of geisha Cio Cio San and her faithless Pinkerton is always in demand.

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For a change of pace, Butterfly is followed by Rossini’s comedy The Italian Girl in Algiers, another Sarasota Opera debut. Lindoro’s attempts at escape from Mustafa, the Bey of Algiers, have gone wrong and he’s now saddled with a hand-me-down bride while his own beloved, Isabella, has gone missing. But things will turn out all right by the final curtain. Opening Feb. 18 for eight performances through March 24.

Another first-time production, this one based on real events during the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror”: Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. The opera tells the story of Blanche de la Force as she goes against her aristocratic family’s wishes to dedicate her life to God. Six performances, March 4-25.

The mainstage season comes to an end with Italo Montemezzi’s The Love of Three Kings, playing for six performances March 11-26. Last seen at the Sarasota Opera in 2003, the piece tells the tale of Princess Fiora—forced to marry Manfredo, but in love with Avito. The pair’s secret is in danger as suspicions grow.

In addition to these operas, the company also presents a Fall Opera Showcase, Nov. 6, an Artists Choice Concert, March 19, and the Spring Opera Spectacular, March 26, featuring favorite opera artists from the season.

Subscriptions are available for renewal at sarasotaopera.org and at the box office; single tickets will go on sale online in August and at the box office Sept. 6. For more information, call 328-1300.


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