Sarasota Opera is excited to present the 2021 Winter/Spring Opera Festival, our 62nd season of bringing world class opera to Florida’s Gulf Coast. This year, our message to the arts community is particularly heartfelt as we launch a season like no other in our history and amidst the many challenges of a worldwide pandemic.
When we prematurely ended our 2020 Winter Festival on (ominously) Friday, March 13, we envisioned a temporary shutdown and thought that when the fall came, we’d be back to business as usual. None of us imagined that opera houses, theaters, and concert halls around the world would be mostly shuttered for a year (and counting) and that most of our artists would be out of work.
As we navigated the uncertainty of the situation, we realized that we couldn’t remain silent. Despite the health emergency, we felt it was important to keep a connection with our audience, community, and artists. That resulted in our Fall Concerts—both indoors and out—and OperaMobile programming that replaced our cancelled fall production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
It was that same motivation that helped us develop our Winter/Spring 2021 program. We wanted to safely bring back staged opera to our opera house and find a way to serve as much of our audience as we could. Therefore, we created a season of “socially-distanced” performances in the Opera House, that can also be streamed online, for those who don’t feel comfortable coming to a theater.
Over the past year it has become very clear to us that live music, opera, and all the arts are more important than ever. The arts provide us solace, comfort, and stimulation as we deal with the uncertainties of our current situation.
We give thanks to the community that has supported us through this crisis. It is your help that allowed us to pay last season’s artists through the end of their contracts, providing them with some income when the future looked extremely bleak. That continuing support has meant that we can keep working, providing virtual programming when we could, and letting us plan for the future. On behalf of our artists, staff, and community, we are extremely grateful.