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Entertainment series continues with the arts

by Roger Pettingell

A cultural arts city for everyone

Part IV of this series highlights the winter season devoted to the classics

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Anyone who has lived in Sarasota and Bradenton for any length of time can tell you that the cultural arts are of the highest quality, particularly for cities of their size. Accordingly, they were named respectively in American Style Magazine’s top arts destinations in the nation for populations of 100,000 or less. This area supports the arts as operas, symphonies and ballets that are well attended.

The season is approaching critical mass. The Sarasota Ballet, under the direction of Iain Webb has its schedule out for the 2019-20 season. Webb is an accomplished dancer and choreographer, formerly with the Royal Ballet in London. While many of the performances are at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts on the grounds of The Ringling Museum, they do stray for special productions at the Sarasota Opera House and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Seven programs in all, the first has already been completed late last month, Graziano, Retrospective, choreography by Ricardo Graziano. Symphonic Tales November 22-23 continues with Program 2 at the Sarasota Opera House. John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker is a holiday favorite, to be held at the Van Wezel December 20-21. The year 2020 rings in with the Ballet Gala on January 5, a performance and dinner catered by Michael’s on East at the Opera House. The ballet returns to the Van Wezel for a special performance of Romeo and Juliet, Program 6, for two nights, March 27-28. Redefined Movement, January 31 through February 3, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company February 28 through March 1 are scheduled at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, Programs 4 and 5. The internationally known dance company has performed in over 500 cities in 64 countries. Beyond Words at the Opera House April 24 and 25 is a company premiere. Information and tickets are available through the Sarasota Ballet website.

If you really want to see ballet from an expert perspective, visit Inside The Studio at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts Hall, November 13. It is a behind the scenes look at the rehearsal of Las Hermanas – Repression and Oppression. Tickets are selling out fast through this special link of Sarasota Ballet website.

Classical music taps into the hearts of concert attendees

Asolo Repertory Theatre
Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts - Asolo Repertory Theatre

The Sarasota Orchestra accompanies the John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker in December. This classic has a Sarasota theme as an honor to one of the greatest circus magnates. The orchestra also performs the live music for the Romeo & Juliet ballet in March. Their schedule has a series of Masterworks, Great Escapes, Pops and Chamber music on tap, beginning with the Classical Romance, a Masterworks program arrangement, this Friday through Sunday at the Van Wezel. As a special treat to classical music lovers, enjoy a conversation with guest conductor Gerard Schwarz who will preview the concert on Thursday at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. A sold-out dinner with the conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony will be held later on Thursday at the PNC Bank third floor.

The Masterworks series continues December 6 through 8, Roman Festivals with guest conductor Joann Falletta. A Mozart and Mahler program January 17 to 19 with guest conductor Steven Sloane; Ludovic Morlot conducts, Chang Plays Dvorak January 30 through February 2; The Sounds of Nobility, February 21 through 23 with guest conductor Bramwell Tovey; Keith Lockhart conducts Beethoven to Bartok, March 12 through 15 and an American Impressions program led by Teddy Abrams, April 3 through 5 completes the Masterworks sessions. Most of these concerts are held at the Van Wezel, with only a couple at the Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. A conversation with guest conductors before each concert and dinners are also planned.

The Great Escapes series typically start on Wednesdays and run for five days through Sundays, scheduled December through March. The programs in Holley Hall are generally shortened to one hour on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with no intermissions. Full programs with a discussion from the conductors are held on Thursdays and Saturdays. The four scheduled Pops concert series are two or three day runs. The first of three Chamber music sessions of one day is sold out and there are special concerts on the Sarasota Orchestra website. Subscriptions for the season can also be purchased online.

For three weeks in June the Sarasota Music Festival, a program of the Sarasota Orchestra, attracts classical music aficionados with themed concerts Thursdays through Sundays. It is a festival of true delight as visitors from many countries participate as a patron of the arts, performers and students who are selected through an audition process to learn from the masters. The full schedule for the 2020 Sarasota Music Festival will be announced in February.

Learn opera from the experts, then be amazed by its passionate performances

Sarasota Opera House
Sarasota Opera House

Unfamiliar with opera? There are plenty of opportunities to brush up before you go to witness one of the great cultural staples of Sarasota. During the November to March season the opera house opens its doors on Mondays to tour the iconic building in downtown Sarasota. A docent will discuss the different aspects of opera, the building and backstage tour. Understanding Opera, four talks by Executive Director Richard Russell and Director of Artistic Administration Greg Trupiano, discuss the topics that seasoned fans and novice patrons can learn from the experts. The next At the Opera with Richard & Greg will be held on Thursday.

Rigoletto, Love is Dangerous, is an opera with four performances on the schedule in November. This ring of three figure out that love can be treacherous, one of Verdi’s greatest works. With two shows in November, Brundibár, Love Conquers Evil, a name from Czechoslovakia for bumblebee is a children’s opera that was first performed in 1938 as a government competition.

Four love themed operas continue in the 2020 Winter Opera Festival February and March. La bohème, Love is Fragile is sung in Italian and translated in English. With music by Giacomo Puccini, the opera is in four acts. The classic Love is Forever opera, Romeo and Juliet, is sung in French with English translations. The combination of William Shakespeare’s genius with the musical composition of Charles Gounod, this five-act opera is on the list of many fans. In The Elixir of Love, Love is Intoxicating, Dulcamara's love potion turns a wary Adina to be become romantically involved with Nemorino, sung in Italian. Also sung in Italian but translated into English, La Wally, Love Hurts, has a chain of events that leads to a tragic ending. Single tickets, subscriptions and group sales are available on their Sarasota Opera website. These events and many others are on my upcoming schedule page with a schedule that continues through June 27, 2020.

Last week I listed a charming house at 1715 Hyde Park Street. Well-appointed updates adorn every room of this 4BR downtown residence. The impressive exterior creates a wonderful spot to relax the day away and features wraparound porches, as well as elaborate entertaining spaces. You will love the central “West of the Trail” locale, just minutes from lively downtown Sarasota. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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1715 Hyde Park Street $999,900 Video Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Sarasota Calendar of Events

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota Schedule for Cultural Events

Calendar for opera, ballet, concerts, festivals, other events

Van Wezel Performing Arts Center
Van Wezel - Some of our 200 events are here, including the Lewis Black show November 13 with presale tickets Wednesday and Thursday for eclub members.

I know a couple here in Sarasota that are only interested in the opera. They know the dates and times of the Sarasota Opera House, and will even travel to Tampa for the Florida Opera Festival at the Straz Center. I have other friends that want to know the festivals, symphonies, plays, and concerts that are performed at the many venues in Sarasota and Manatee counties. My calendar of events is for the opera enthusiasts and those that want to know all the events in the area.

The calendar is updated often with a wide variety. I find the most important events in Longboat Key and Sarasota and post them first. For instance, the Classic Corvette show on St. Armands Circle is on the schedule for this weekend with the The Ballet Russes at the Sarasota Opera House. The schedule this weekend is diverse with the Poetry Life Weekend at the Florida Studio Theatre and It Only Takes a Moment play starts its run at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Or American Pie which was held over to May 10 to become the longest running play in Florida Studio Theatre history of 42 years. At most times there are over 200 events listed from Sarasota, to Tampa, to Venice.

And now that most schedules are released for the 2015-2016 season and beyond, our schedule reaches as far out to  March 17, 2017 with the symphony pop series, the Gulfshore Trio at the Historic Asolo Theatre. The schedules for ballet, opera, symphony orchestra, and concerts are all on the calendar as well as most events held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center. We try to put the festivals and special shows on the calendar as far in advance as possible.

They are arranged first by date of current running shows with multiple dates, then by the date in the next section. I like to make sure the benefit dinners and shows for local charities are listed as I am on the board of directors on such local organizations such as the Southeastern Guide Dogs or Forty Carrots Family Center. All local charity organizations need our help and we place their events on the calendar.

Sarasota Opera House
Many of the events for the 2015 Sarasota Music Festival will be held at the Sarasota Opera House.

Last week we put up the schedule for the Sarasota Music Festival, the first three weeks in June. Put on by the Sarasota Orchestra under the new direction of Anu Tali, this year has its excitement level high. Many of these concerts were sold out last year so a subscription on the website guarantees your spot. Each weekend begins with an Artist Showcase every Thursday in Holley Hall. The first is Music by the Masters on June 4, followed by Pyrotechnic Pedagogues, June 11, and Delightful Duets on June 18. The Friday Festival series begins June 5 with Dazzling and Petite. This series in the Sarasota Opera House continues with Sixes and Eights and concludes with Classically Charged on June 19. Saturday Symphony 1 starts off with a lecture series in Holley Hall, then a concert at night each Saturday in the Sarasota Opera House. The first is Romantic Legends, followed by Beethoven’s Eighth, June 13, then Brahms and Beethoven on the last night of the festival. There is a series of three student recitals in Holley Hall June 7, 14 and 19.

I am on the board of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and we just received their schedule for the next season. Some good shows are lined up. Spunk is running now through May 17, an award winning off-Broadway show with high energy. Next up is the Cotton Club Cabaret that starts July 8, a high spirited musical that made its debut in 2000. The next season starts with the critically acclaimed motion picture and Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by Marsha Norman brought to stage, The Color Purple,  October 14 – November 21. The world premiere of A Motown Christmas follows December 2-31. In 2016 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Sam Cooke Story and Driving Miss Daisy are all on the schedule.

Florida Studio Theatre
Florida Studio Theatre - The Sarasota Improv Festival runs for three nights here, July 9-11.

The seventh year of the Sarasota Improv Festival kicks off with a pre-festival gathering July 9. The festival runs July 9 – 11 at the Florida Studio Theatre on North Palm Avenue. Never Marry a Girl with Cold Feet is running now through June 7. They just solidified their summer performances, we have them all. We also put up comedy sessions at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre on Ringling Boulevard that includes the World Series of Comedy May 27-30. The full schedule for all events is on this website.

These year-round events make a great impression on those seeking homes in the Sarasota and Longboat Key area.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We have this new listing, a great corner lot on Longboat Club Road to build your dream home on the Islandside Golf Course. Return next week for a new listing at the Promenade and two residences for sale at Grand Bay.

1021 Longboat Club Road $999,000 Video Photo Slideshow


The Cultural Season is Upon Us

by Roger Pettingell

Local Opera, Ballet, Orchestra and Theater

The 2014-15 Season Is In Full Swing For All Cultural Tastes

Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota
Van Wezel Performing Arts Center - I show the performing arts center through my helicopter tour of Sarasota. Click on the image for the full tour.

I enjoy the arts, the culture of this area supports performance arts in an incredible way. That is why we have the opera, orchestra, pops, and ballet. For a city the size of Sarasota, that is very impressive and the local talent is top notched. November marks the time when the different cultural genres are setting up for the busy winter season.

I support the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in their performances and as a member on the board of directors. This group has an impressive schedule and just finished a run of nightly shows with their Little Shop of Horrors stage play. The entire family will enjoy Black Nativity, based on the poetry of Langston Hughes, now in it its fifth year. This production combines his poetry with Christmas and gospel music for a high-energy celebration of the nativity. I hope to see you there, I have my tickets for at least one night of the performance that begins December 3 and ends four days before Christmas.

The WBTT is celebrating its 15th season. This troupe in recent years has captured local awards for drama and has picked up national recognition for its stage plays. The theatre location at 1646 10th Way is in the heart of downtown Sarasota off Orange Avenue. Tickets for the Black Nativity production are available online or in the box office at 1343 Main Street, Suite 300B. I highly recommend the Black Nativity. January starts another round of shows, beginning with a powerful play, Knock Me a Kiss by Charles Smith, January 7 to February 8. If you like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, then the world premiere of Jazz Hot Mamas that runs February 25 to March 29 is a good show to catch. The season winds down with three tales by Zora Neale Hurston in the production of Spunk, April 15 to May 17.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Can Dance and Southeastern Guide Dogs
I discuss the upcoming 2014-15 cultural event season in this episode of REALTALK™.

The very successful Sarasota Orchestra is in full swing in Holley Hall, about six blocks away from the WBTT at 709 N Tamiami Trail. Last season, 39 performances were sold out. This season will be popular as well. The next concert and staged production is Songs of Wars I Have Seen on Thursday and Friday, already with limited availability for tickets. American Dream, Masterworks 2 and Jingle All the Way, Great Escapes 2 will only be available a few nights each in December. In Love, Masterworks 3, Voices of the Movies, Pops 1 will be at the larger venue Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in January. The orchestra returns to Holley Hall January 21 for four days with Great Escapes 3, Here, There & Everywhere. There are a number of sold out performances for the remainder of the season through May 9 with the finale, Orchestra in the Outfield. I highly recommend getting tickets early, ordering online on the Sarasota Orchestra website.

It always amazes me when I think back and know that ballet started here in 1987. That was soon after I got started in real estate here in Sarasota. Knowing that, we can justify Sarasota as voted the number one top arts destination in the nation for small cities by readers of American Style Magazine in 2012. Three big productions are scheduled for this season beginning with a two-night run of Balanchine, Tuckett & Bruce which opens Friday at the Sarasota Opera House. Ashton’s La Fille mal Gardée runs December 19 and 20 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, followed by two nights of Dance Theatre of Harlem opening on January 30 and February 1 at the FSU Center for Performing Arts. The Sarasota Orchestra accompanies the artists for the La Fille mal Gardée shows. Tickets are online through their website.

I hope you were able to catch Pagliacci at the Sarasota Opera House last week. With fewer than 1,200 seats the Sarasota Opera House downtown at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue is a thrill to visit as it is a small replica of the European opera houses. The annual Opera Gala on January 31 kicks off the 2015 opera season that runs from February 7 to March 28, with operas nearly every night. The first is a 12-show opera run, Tosca with Giacomo Puccini. Tosca runs through March 28, the last of four matinees in the run. Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is performed on nine nights concluding March 27. The Golden Cockerel, with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the Paris version of Don Carlos are scheduled to fill in the week of operas during this period. Giuseppe Verdi is heralded this season in a cycle with Don Carlos, The Verdi Concert on March 22 and the Intimate Verdi on March 26. An artist’s choice concert fills in the nightly schedule on March 6. Check their website for more details or to subscribe to the entire season of opera at

There are many cultural events here in Sarasota. I list many of them from Tampa to Venice in our upcoming events page. Our neighbor to the north, Bradenton, also celebrates a fine reputation for the arts. Bradenton was voted second in the same American Style Magazine’s top arts destinations in the nation for populations of 100,000 or less. Visit and see for yourself the diversity of talent and quality of shows. When ready, please call the office at (941) 387-1840 to buy or sell property here. Below are three Longboat Key properties I listed last week.

3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #235 $899,000 Video Photo Slideshow
2016 Harbourside Dr #344/345 $895,000 Video Photo Slideshow
2071 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #T1-106 $599,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Who Lives Here and Why

by Roger C. Pettingell

Who Lives Here and Why

When prospective clients contact me to live in Longboat Key and Sarasota they generally have a good idea why they want to move here. If they vacation here first they witness the splendid sites and activities this area has to offer.

To think of great year around weather your first thought is to draw a mental picture of the beaches and the amount of sunshine that this state has to offer. Florida is a larger state than it may appear, so the complexion of each area represents a different way of life. The hustle of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the equestrian lifestyle around Ocala or the college cities of Gainesville and Tallahassee each are attractive in their own ways.

Sarasota and the six barrier islands attract a different type of resident. They are looking beyond the great beaches, golfing, restaurants, fishing and boating that other beach communities share in Florida and settle here for a more relaxing life with a home style atmosphere of luxury homes in quaint neighborhoods.

Planet Venus at sunset shines like a bright star in the southwest from any location on the Gulf of Mexico coast beaches at sunset.For the most part they have worked hard all their life to achieve their status and want to share that with others of similar backgrounds. Neighbors are friends with similar backgrounds but security and privacy is a priority they all share.

The list is impressive of those who have purchased real estate here in the Sarasota County area. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, thrill author Stephen King, professional wrestler 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, talk show king Jerry Springer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, actress Jane Lynch, sports commentator Dick Vitale, tennis coaching legend Nick Bollettieri, tennis star Martina Navratilova, TV series host Jack Perkins, R&B recording legend Donald 'Duck' Dunn, founding Moody Blues band member Graeme Edge, and our most recent addition actress Rosie O'Donnell, have all purchased property here.

It is likely that this area originated as an arts center through the contributions that famed circus promoter John and Mable Ringling brought to the area. Nearly a century later of classical arts Sarasota was voted the number one top art destination in the nation for small cities by readers of American Style Magazine. Northern neighbor Bradenton was voted number two in that same poll.

Sarasota is home to the oldest continuing orchestra and the oldest theatre company in the state. It is home to the first professional ballet and opera companies on the Gulf coast of Florida. An annual film festival for one week in April attracts visitors from around the world.

America’s favorite pastime begins each year here in Sarasota for the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in downtown Sarasota. A total of 16 teams from the National League and American League have a hefty pre-season schedule in March.

Recreation, fishing, boating and relaxation; there is more that Sarasota and the Gulf of Mexico barrier islands has to offer. Come to Longboat Key and Sarasota for the beaches and sunshine, stay for all that remains.

Happy Thanksgiving. It is my hope that your travels are safe and your visit with family is memorable.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.