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Interview With Keith Arsenault

If you’ve seen theatre or opera in Tampa Bay, you’ve probably seen a production Keith Arsenault helped bring to life. A skilled lighting designer, set designer, theatre tech consultant and arts administrator, Keith is the resident lighting designer of the St Pete Opera, runs HCC Ybor’s beautiful Performing Arts Center, has worked as a voiceover …

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A sweet, satisfying introduction to opera for children

By Bill DeYoung Since his debut in Carlo Collodi’s 19th century children’s book, Pinocchio – the wooden puppet who can walk, talk and get into trouble – has appeared in countless adaptations, from fine art and theater to radio, cinema and television. Always, the lesson is the same: Tell the truth, and you will find …

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Sterling Ensemble Lifts Don Giovanni

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart broke barriers in opera, and not just by weaving those impossible harmonies with seemingly little effort. Together with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, he also relished any chance to tweak the upper class, first in The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. The St. Petersburg Opera opened its season Friday with Don Giovanni …

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Maestro Sforzini dusting off his bassoon

Our own Maestro Sforzini will be dusting off his bassoon to play a recital this Saturday night with clarinetist Brian Moorhead.  Moorhead (41 years Principal Clarinet with the Florida Orchestra) commissioned Sforzini to compose a Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon.  Additional commissioners include Belinda Dumont and Gayle Bertelstein.   Moorhead and Sforzini played 15 …

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Strong leads propel St. Petersburg Opera’s ‘The Magic Flute’

Reviewer Andrew Meacham wrote:  An unconscious prince in a magical forest gets rescued by three witchy women who serve a mysterious queen. He soon returns the favor, rescuing the queen’s daughter with whom he has fallen instantly in love. What’s not to love about this adult fairy tale immortalized by Mozart in The Magic Flute? …

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Meet me at the opera. You have your ticket, right?

Gounod’s romantic, French grand opera Faust presents us with glorious melodies and sumptuous orchestrations for this dark tale. Unhappy with life, Faust yearns for a return to his youth; makes a pact with the Devil and draws a host of characters into his bargain. Méphistophélès is only too happy to service Faust in his desire …

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SPO DVD is First Ever of Susannah!

St. Petersburg Opera Company is delighted to announce the first ever DVD recording of the Carlisle Floyd opera Susannah, with Maestro Mark Sforzini and starring Susan Hellman Spatafora, Stefanie Izzo and Aleksandra Ritums.  Filmed in 2014 at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida, the DVD includes bonus materials including an interview with composer Carlisle …

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Arsenault’s design brings out the full richness of Tales of Hoffman

Michael Eddy of Stage-Directions.com writes: Lighting Designer Keith Arsenault recently lit the St. Petersburg Opera Company’s production of the Jacques Offenbach classic, Tales of Hoffmann. Following a poet through three fanciful stories of unrequited love, this opera has held sway over audiences since it debuted in Paris 136 years ago. Its bright, lively music and a clever libretto are …

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Mom Would Love It!

Peter Bates at Stylus notes: Jacques Offenbach composed over 100 operas. But waste no pity on him because he has only one in the repertoire (and for dying before he could see it). Tales of Hoffman, based on three short stories by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, is immortal, right up there with (many of) Giuseppe …

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Maestro Interview by Creative Pinellas

From Creative Pinellas: Maestro Mark Sforzini dispels notions of opera being too stuffy or boring. The affable conductor, composer and director of the St. Petersburg Opera hosts amusingly informative events that de-snobify the genre. His Evenings and Mornings with the Maestro and the cheeky Opera Therapy series offer explanations, conversations and mini-performances that shed light …

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Il Trovatore Sets the Table for the Season

Andrew Meacham writes Il Trovatore opens with foreboding and menace as a Spanish military officer lays the groundwork for revenge. Musically and in tone, the table is set: This will be dark. The opera by Giuseppe Verdi premiered in Rome in 1853, sandwiched between Rigoletto and La Traviata, and is considered one of the composer’s …

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IL TROVATORE – Director’s Notes

Il trovatore is the second of the great trio of mature, middle-period Verdi masterpieces which cemented Verdi’s reputation as the greatest Italian composer of his time. Preceded by Rigoletto and followed by La traviata, this opera demonstrated Verdi’s ability to find the perfect melody to express a character’s emotional state. In Il trovatore the characters …

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Under Maestro’s baton the orchestra is absolutely stunning

Broadway World‘s Peter Nason reviews: I am in the camp that believes that SOUTH PACIFIC is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest work. Even though it won the Pulitzer Prize and is the only musical to garner the Tony Award for all four acting categories, the show still sometimes seems overshadowed by other R & H classics: …

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‘South Pacific’ closes out opera season, with pleasing results

St. Pete Times‘s Andrew Meacham writes: The St. Petersburg Opera Company again closes its season with a musical, this time running two weeks. The extra week for South Pacific anticipates healthy crowds at the Palladium, but also does justice to a serious production. The show allowed me to indulge long-standing curiosities about the acting potential of …

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A faithful, delightful rendition of ‘La Bohème’

Andrew Meacham reviewed: Now and then, someone launches a contemporary version of La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini’s paean to love and loss, with mixed results. A production in Washington, D.C., set the downtrodden artists in the 1980s club scene. Another, in Oslo, started the show with the heroine, Mimi, who we already know will die at …

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