When Gordon and Michele Gilbert were brainstorming St. Petersburg’s inaugural month-long Celebration of the Arts – a series of cultural events centered around the theme of William Shakespeare – one of the first people they approached was Maestro Sforzini.
“Mark has been wonderful,” says Michele. “Initially, he thought in terms of an opera – he said ‘I’m going to be behind you in a major way,’ and he truly was.”
Ultimately, Maestro decided that St. Pete Opera’s contribution to the Celebration would be the legendary Broadway musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate – which is, of course, adapted (in a Cole Porter sort of way) from the Shakespeare comedy The Taming of the Shrew.
“Kiss Me, Kate fits right in,” Gordon explains, “and we’re thrilled that it’s being done as part of the Celebration of the Arts.”
Dr. Gordon Gilbert is a semi-retired neurologist; Michele, a retired professor of art history, and they’re both avid supporters of St. Pete’s arts community.
With contributions from St. Pete Opera, the Tampa Bay Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, American Stage and numerous others, the 2019 Celebration of the Arts – the Gilberts believe – will foster a spirit of collaboration and unity.
“This is to show people that the different cultural units can have a common theme and act together,” he explains. “Do not have to be competitive, but actually can each be supporting the other. We love that idea.
“We love the idea that St. Petersburg – through our efforts, we hope – comes together in a more unified fashion. And we anticipate this will be an annual celebration of the arts, with a different theme each year.”
Click here to see the full Celebration of the Arts calendar.
Click here for the Tampa Bay Times article on the celebration.