Sarasota Opera pulls the plug on American opera series
Launched with great fanfare in 2011, Sarasota Opera is pulling the plug on its American Classics Series after just three years.
Despite critical acclaim and much nationwide praise for the company’s adventurous initiative, Sarasota Opera’s new executive director Richard Russell says that local audiences have not embraced the American project, and that the current production of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men will be the last work in the series.
“We are very proud of the American Classics Series and feel that it was a significant artistic success,” said Russell in a statement on Sunday. “While many in our audience have appreciated our introducing them to these works, response as a whole was not what we had hoped.”
Privately, some company officials said that Sarasota audiences, composed largely of well-heeled culturally conservative seniors, disliked and even “hated” the operas presented and let their feelings be known in several letters and phone calls to the company.
Sarasota Opera will present a concert of American music in 2014 and Russell said that the company will continue to offer American operas in the future, though he indicated that no specific productions are currently planned.
Sarasota Opera’s production of Floyd’s Of Mice and Men runs through March 23.