|Sarasota Opera to Present Poland's National Opera Halka and Sarasota Celebrates Poland and Its Arts |
8/28/2006 - For Immediate Release
August 28, 2006
Contacts: Richard Russell, Director of Marketing
(941) 366-8450, ext. 245
Patricia G. Horwell, Communications Officer
(941) 366-8450, ext. 332
Sarasota Opera to Present Poland's National Opera Halka and Sarasota Celebrates Poland and Its Arts
Sarasota Opera in Sarasota, Florida will be presenting Stanislaw Moniuszko's Halka for eight performances as part of its 2007 Winter Opera Festival. In addition, arts organizations throughout Sarasota and with the assistance of the Polish Embassy, will celebrate Poland and its arts with special exhibits and presentations throughout the month of February.
Sarasota Opera's production of Halka will open on February 3 at 8 p.m. with a gala dinner at the Sarasota University Club preceding the performance. Special guest at the dinner will be world-renowned Polish soprano Teresa Kubiak. Dignitaries from the Polish Embassy in the U.S. are also planning to attend. Sarasota Opera will offer seven additional performances of Halka on February 6, 8, 16, 21, and March 3 at 8 p.m.; and February 11 and 24 at 1:30 p.m.
Part of Sarasota Opera's Masterworks Revival Series, which presents neglected operas of artistic merit, Halka is considered the national opera of Poland and is a permanent part of the repertoire in Polish opera houses. This tragedy, with an undertone of Polish nationalism, contains a score that is flavored with the polonaises, mazurkas, and folk music of its native land. Although the work has been performed in the U.S. by amateur and touring companies, this will be the first production by a professional American opera company in a fully staged production. The opera will be sung in Polish with English supertitles.
The production of Halka will be conducted by David Neely. Currently on the faculty of the University of Texas, Maestro Neely has conducted over 400 performances of over 40 stage works at theaters across Germany and was critically acclaimed for Sarasota Opera's 2006 production of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus. Pat Diamond, who has directed Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro for the company will direct, with sets by Michael Schweikardt, making his debut with the company and costumes by Sarasota Opera's resident costume designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan. The title role of Halka will be sung by Polish soprano Maria Knapik.
Because dance plays such an important part in Halka, Sarasota Opera has engaged The Lira Dancers of the Lira Ensemble of Chicago, to provide the dancers and choreography for the production. Iwona Puc is the choreographer. The Lira Ensemble is the only professional performing arts company in the United States specializing in Polish music, song, and dance is under the artistic direction of Lucyna Migala.
Sarasota Arts Organizations Join in a Celebration of Polish Culture
Concurrent with Sarasota Opera's production of Halka , other arts organizations in Sarasota, with the assistance of the Polish Embassy, will be highlighting the art and culture of Poland. Currently scheduled participants include:
Sarasota Film Society (www.filmsociety.org will present a series of classic and contemporary Polish films at its Burns Court Cinemas in downtown Sarasota.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art features a library with 73 books by Polish authors, a set of six Polish Circus Posters from "Cyrk," and works of art that feature August the II and August III, former Kings of Poland. Visit www.ringling.org for more information about the collection and visiting information.
The Selby Library (across the street from the Sarasota Opera House) will be exhibiting Polish literature and other works from their collection. They will also host a special program on the music of Chopin on February 20 at 5 p.m.
Sarasota Opera will host an exhibition "Moniuszko 1819-1872," courtesy of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. This exhibition is presented with the assistance of the Polish Embassy. Sarasota Opera will also offer free pre-performance lectures about Moniuszko and Halka at all performances except the opening night, February 3.
Additional events are currently in formation. As these are finalized, information will be made available at the Sarasota Opera website (www.sarasotaopera.org) and through the Sarasota Opera (941) 366-8450. Tickets for these events, where required, will be available through the individual venues.
Group tickets are currently being sold for all performances of Halka, as well as the other operas in the Sarasota Opera Winter Opera Festival. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more through the Group Sales Manager, Maureen Martin (941) 366-8450, ext. 228.
Single tickets to Halka will go on sale Sept. 1. Three opera subscription series, which include Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Verdi's Attila, are also available. Tickets can be purchased through the Sarasota Opera Box Office (941) 366-8450, ext. 1 or toll-free 1-888-OPERA-12, or online at www.sarasotaopera.org.
About Sarasota Opera
Based in Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast, Sarasota Opera is in now in its 48th season. In 1958 the company began presenting chamber-sized repertoire in the historic 320 seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota's Ringling Museum of Art. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater in downtown Sarasota in 1979. Renovations began in 1982 and the 1,033 seat theater, now on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House. Since 1983 the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi. Since then the company has garnered international attention with its Masterworks Revival Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle producing the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its OPERA-tion performances for local schools and the unique Sarasota Youth Opera program.
Sarasota Opera's 48th Season will run from January 27 - March 4, 2007. The Winter Opera Festival will open with Giacomo Puccini's beloved Madama Butterfly. Sarasota Opera's Masterworks Revival Series will return when Poland's national opera Halka, by Stanislaw Moniuszko opens on Feb. 3. The final opera of the season will be Verdi's dramatic Attila, continuing Sarasota Opera's Verdi Cycle when it opens on Feb. 17. The season will conclude on the evening of March 4 with the Spring Gala Concert: A Celebration of the Sarasota Opera House. This special event will feature Victor DeRenzi conducting soloists and the Sarasota Opera Orchestra and Chorus in highlights from operas that have been performed in the historic theater since it re-opened in 1984. All operas are presented at the historic 1,033 seat Sarasota Opera House. Operas are performed in their original language with simultaneous English text projected above the stage.
Sarasota Opera has launched Building on the Vision, a $60-million capital campaign. The campaign, which is the largest ever undertaken by the company, will support a renovation of the Opera House, strengthening of its endowment, and securing its long-term future through legacy gifts. For more information about Sarasota Opera's plans, please contact Peter Hussell, (941) 366-8450, ext. 416 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.
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