Okay, I know this is going to sound utterly bat-wing, but bear with me. As Sarasotans, we are all about to be a part of something obscenely cool; internationally envied — something truly historic. And no, it’s not the world record for number of jump-splits in a career by Ms. Beneva Fruitville (although that is totally rad).
It’s the 200-year anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s (that’s “Joe Green” in American) birthday next October — and his birthday just so happens to coincide with the kickoff of the Sarasota Opera’s season run. In honor of Verdi’s looming big 2-O-O, the Sarasota Opera will open the 2012-2013 season with a production of the composer’s first bona-fide masterpiece, Rigoletto, as it was staged at its premiere in 1851.
To experience such a masterpiece with its original staging is truly the stuff of an international culture nut’s somatic soiling. Every August, opera lovers from around the world hope their number gets pulled from a decade-plus waiting list for the chance to see the works of Verdi’s German contemporary, Richard Wagner, staged at the theatre he built to do sonic justice to his epic romantic opuses in Bayreuth Germany.
Giuseppe Verdi’s version of Bayreuth just happens to be right here in our own backyard. The Sarasota Opera has justly earned the designation of “Verdi’s American Home” by embarking on the Herculean task of performing every note of music that Verdi ever wrote as part of their internationally lauded Verdi Cycle, which is scheduled to run through 2016.
After a multi-million dollar acoustic overhaul to the Sarasota Opera House and meticulous consideration put toward faithfully channeling the original score and staging by Sarasota Opera’s whip-smart directorial team, opening night is sure to trump Back to the Future for art-zealots and authenticity-nerds of even the most discerning orientations.
To sweeten the deal, Rigoletto is even more appropriate for the opening of this particular season at the Sarasota Opera because, in addition to being Signore Verdi’s home away from wherever it is they serve the best limoncello in The Great Beyond, Sarasota is also the home of the circus — and Rigoletto just so happens to be an opera that is primarily about a clown and his relationship with his dreamboat daughter. (If that sentence just raised a red flag for scandal in your head, you are right on.)
In addition to the Sarasota Opera’s tried and true reputation for trailblazing new pathways into centuries-old traditions, they have set themselves apart by being the first performing arts organization in Sarasota to launch a smart phone app that, as communications officer, Samuel Lowry, ‘app-tly’ noted: “[will put] the Sarasota Opera in the palm of people’s hands internationally.”
The app, which was launched last Tuesday to coincide with the box office opening for the Sarasota Opera’s 54th season, will update users on ticket deals, opportunities to mingle with cast and crew, multimedia goodies and much more. It is this kind of ingenuity that will not only close gaps between the young and the old, the formal and the folk, but also keep the greater Sarasota arts community distinguished around the globe for its unique, quirky, and more often than seems to be credited, staggeringly brilliant offerings.
With a cast starring Italian baritone Marco Nisticò, mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, tenor Hak Soo Kim, and conductor Victor DeRenzi, tickets starting at just $19 and a new mobile app that will make the whole process of planning a night at the opera easier than ordering a pizza, Rigoletto at the Sarasota Opera promises to be an occasion worthy of 200 years of hype.
To download Sarasota Opera’s new mobile app, visit your appropriate App Store or Market and search “Sarasota Opera”.
For more information about the Sarasota Opera, visit them online at: www.sarasotaopera.org.