SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many businesses, but at The Sarasota Opera House the show goes on as they kick off their 2021 Winter Opera Festival. The staff has spent many months designing a very safe experience for their audience, artists, crew and staff.
Carlos Vicente, The Director of Marketing, spoke about the extra precautions that they are taking for their visitors and stated, “For our audience, we started with a new touchless ticketing process, where you can buy tickets online and have them on your phone. When you arrive at the opera house, we require temperature checks and masks for everyone. Our theater usually holds over 1000 people, but we are limiting ticket sales to a maximum of 250 per performance, so the seats are very well spaced. We’ve redesigned the traffic flow inside so you can walk right into the theater upon arrival, no waiting in a crowded lobby.”
Not only are they taking these measures with their visitors, but also with the company. “We actually have a 30 plus page document of protocols that follow CDC guidelines and were approved by the local health authorities. Everyone’s required to wear masks at all times unless performing on the stage. We are all tested weekly on-site, and our artists are carefully sequestered in a bubble to keep them safe. They, the orchestra, and the crew are all so happy to be working again, since theaters and stages across the world have been shut down for nearly a year, leaving so many people out of work. Everyone is simply thrilled to be back, doing what they love,” Vicente explained.
In addition, they are presenting operas that are less than 90 minutes each, with no intermission. Each opera has a much smaller cast, crew and orchestra than they usually have in a normal year. The operas they’re presenting are fully staged with beautiful costumes, sets, lighting, and exquisite singing.
Vicente explained more on the upcoming shows and stated, “Our winter operas have romantic and fun story lines. Our first opera is The Happy Deception by Gioachino Rossini. He wrote the opera when he was only 19 years old! He went on to become one of the most famous composers of all time. His best known piece may be the William Tell overture. The Happy Deception is the story of a duchess who disappears and then washes up on a beach in a small mining town. A kind miner takes her in and cares for her, until ten years later when her grieving husband and his entourage pay a visit. Abduction, menace, passion, and comedy all swirl towards a happy conclusion! Just last night, we opened our second opera, Maid to Mistress by Giovanni Batista Pergolesi. This story involves a wealthy bachelor who grows impatient with his saucy young maid, and he resolves to find a wife to care for him properly. The maid has other ideas though... she schemes to get the promotion she desires-bride and mistress of the home!”
This season presents an opportunity for any opera newcomers to be introduced to Sarasota Opera in a very special time in history. All of the operas have English translations projected above the stage so you can understand everything that’s going on moment by moment. It’s easy to follow along with the translations above the stage. Tickets start at just $25 and you can find more information by clicking here to visit their website.