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