Saturday, February 14, 2015

Opera Tampa scores with season-opener 'Rigoletto'

   The winter opera season is in full bloom, and in case Sarasota Opera's current productions of 'Tosca" and "The Marriage of Figaro" aren't enough to satisfy your cravings, Opera Tampa is offering a terrific production of "Rigoletto."
   The Verdi classic kicks off the 20th anniversary season for the company, which performs at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

   The cast for this production is stunning. On opening night, the most thrilling moments came from soprano Claire Coolen as Gilda, who wielded a gorgeous voice with impressive control and a powerful stage presence, and tenor David Guzman as the Duke of Mantua.  Guzman's rendering of the opera's most famous piece, "La Donna e Mobile," was simpy beautiful, and his duets with Coolen were highlights of the evening.
Guzman as the Duke. Photo by Will Staples
    Sarasota soprano Johanna Fincher was also impressive in a smaller role as  Countess Ceprano. (Fincher will be performing closer to home this spring, in concert with Gloria Musicae in April and the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota in May.)
   All the design work, especially the  evocative and textured lighting by Chad Jung, is a treat to look at.
   The only downside is that Opera Tampa is only presenting this lovely production twice. The remaining performance is at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 15. Tickets are $49.50-$99.50 plus service charge. If you love grand opera it's well worth the price and the drive. Call 813-229-7827 or go to


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