Date ArticleType
6/5/2018 Member News

“Why Can’t You Behave?” St. Petersburg Opera Announces 2018-19 Season

June 5, 2018

“Why Can’t You Behave?” St. Petersburg Opera Announces 2018-19 Season

Characters who simply can’t control themselves permeate this intrepid opera company’s 13th season which includes Don Giovanni, Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi, Madama Butterfly and Kiss Me Kate along with Pinocchio and the popular Maestro Series

St. Petersburg, Fla. - June 5, 2018 – The St. Petersburg Opera (SPO) comes out swinging with a season curated by conductor and artistic director Mark Sforzini around the theme of characters who cannot seem to toe the line. From the libertine doings of Don Giovanni to the untamed shrew-like antics of Kate, this is a season based on operas whose characters simply cannot sit still. “There’s plenty of deceiving, misleading, manipulating, and general shenanigans,” says the maestro, “to keep you entertained and wondering what could possibly happen next.”

SPO’s three main stage opera productions, to be presented at St. Petersburg’s Palladium Theater, will be Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the double-bill of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi and Puccini’s masterwork Madama Butterfly. The company’s annual musical offering will be Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate. Seasonal Sparkle, SPO’s annual festive offering to toast the Holiday Season will feature excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, a tribute to classic Christmas Pops songs, and a special operatic set inspired by the stars, the moon and the heavens.

Not only are these repertoire staples some of the most appealing in the operatic canon, but they each have a personal connection to Sforzini. “Madama Butterfly was the first opera that I ever conducted,” he says, “and holds a special place in my heart. Don Giovanni is the first opera I saw live, and Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate is full of jazzy up-tempo songs I first came to know playing saxophone in a professional big band. The first opera I played in as a bassoonist was Gianni Schicchi. I am looking forward to bringing these productions to vivid life onstage with all the commitment and passion these timeless works deserve.”

One of the keys to SPO’s success has always been its earnest and engaging outreach to audiences throughout Tampa Bay. In its 13th season, SPO will continue to provide experiences for the school-age youth of St. Petersburg – including a return of the family opera Pinocchio – and will invest in developing gifted young artists through its Emerging Artists Program. SPO will also continue to offer opportunities to explore the nuances of opera with the popular Maestro Series. These Mornings, Evenings, and even Cocktails with the Maestro with titles like “Seven Very Unwise Moments in Opera” and “Final Meltdown” illuminate the mainstage productions with insight into the characters and music to enrich the audience experience.

The 2018-2019 St. Petersburg Opera Season Includes:

Don Giovanni
Friday, October 19, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 21, 2018, at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.
Palladium Theater
Sung in Italian with English projections above the stage.
Sponsored by: Claudia McCorkle

If his Sancho-Panza-like companion (and aider and abettor) Leporello is to be believed, the irresistible Don Giovanni can claim 1,000 conquests…in Spain alone! But his murder of the father of Donna Anna sets a sequence of events in motion that (spoiler alert) will see Giovanni get his deserved comeuppance. Mozart’s popular opera is often referred to as a dramma giocoso, a theatrical coup that blends serious and comic action—with terrifying supernatural elements all set to Mozart’s immortal and whip-smart score, and you have an evening of great entertainment crossed with moral rectitude.

Cole Porter’s
Kiss Me Kate
Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 3, 2019, at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 5, 2109 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 10, 2019, at 2 p.m.
Palladium Theater

A troupe of theatricals is putting on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, but the cast is embroiled in interpersonal relationships that lead to offstage bickering and onstage surprises. Cole Porter’s score, performed as intended with the original-size Broadway pit orchestra, features a the snap and sizzle of such iconic songs as "So in Love,” “Too Darn Hot," “Why Can’t You Behave,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” along with so many more from this inimitably witty composer and lyricist.

Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicci
Friday, May 17, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Palladium Theater
Co-Sponsored by
Suor Angelica (Sponsored by Belinda Dumont)
Gianni Schicchi (Co-Sponsored by Gloria Matyszyk & Dick Caldwell and The Norma Quance Trust, Jo-Ann Hammack, Trustee)

Two often-paired Puccini one-act operas make for a fabulous night of singing, drama and comic hijinks. In the tragedy Suor Angelica, a nun must face the truth about her past and confront her judgmental aunt who has arrived at the convent for purposes of her own. In Gianni Schicchi, the Donati family really puts the "fun" in “dysfunctional,” squabbling over the inheritance from Cousin Buoso. Ultimately, they hire a crooked lawyer to rewrite the will, but the outcome is not what they expected.

Giacomo Puccini’s
Madama Butterfly
Friday, June 21, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 28, 2019 at7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 2 p.m.
Palladium Theater
Sung in Italian with English translations above the stage
Co-Sponsored by Dr. Gordon Gilbert and Michele Kidwell Gilbert

Cio-Cio-San renounces her family and religion to be with the man she loves. She is unwavering in her faith that Pinkerton will return to Japan to take his proper place as her husband and father of their child, but the American naval officer has his own cultural ideas of marriage. This ever-popular Puccini is one of the Western World’s great tragic masterworks. Bring your handkerchief.

The season also features
Seasonal Sparkle
Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday December 19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Palladium Theater
Sponsored by: Doyle Wealth Management

Enjoy the festive sounds of the holiday with our Sparkle Chorus, Orchestra and Soloists. This season’s new program includes excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, a tribute to classic Christmas Pops songs, and a special operatic set inspired by the stars, the moon and the heavens.

Friday, November 9, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Cynthia Faulhaber
Pinellas County Schools
St. Petersburg Opera Guild

The wooden boy learns the value of telling the truth in this classic story, set to music of Mozart,
Donizetti, Verdi, Offenbach, and more. The whole family is welcome to this one-hour performance suitable for all ages. Presented at Opera Central in Preis Hall with a cast of wonderful singers and a chamber orchestra.

Maestro Series: Mornings, Evenings, and Cocktails with the Maestro
Mornings and evenings:
Oct. 4 / Oct. 5, 2018 Preview to Don Giovanni
Nov. 1 / Nov. 2, 2018 Seven Very Unwise Moments in Opera
Jan. 17 / Jan. 18, 2019 Preview to Kiss Me Kate
Mar. 14 / Mar. 15. 2019 Final Meltdown
May 2 / May 3, 2019 How to Cast an Opera…featuring the cast of Angelica & Schicchi
Jun. 6 / Jun. 7, 2019 Preview to Madama Butterfly
Nov. 8, 2018 Seven Very Unwise Moments in Opera
Mar. 21, 2019 Final Meltdown
May 9, 2019 How to Cast an Opera… featuring the cast of Angelica & Schicchi
For Tickets and More Information, visit or call 727-823-2040

About the St. Petersburg Opera:
The mission of the St. Petersburg Opera Company is to enrich the cultural lives of the residents of and visitors to the Tampa Bay area by presenting fully staged professional opera productions of the highest quality, and to make opera accessible to present and future audiences through community outreach, educational initiatives, and collaboration with other arts organizations.

St. Petersburg Opera (SPO) was founded in 2007 by Mark Sforzini with two fully staged performances of La Bohème with the Florimezzo Orchestra. From the beginning, Maestro Sforzini believed in the necessity of a vital Emerging Artist program and in community outreach and opera education. La Bohème generated enough in ticket sales to encourage Sforzini to continue and the following season, the company produced two operas, with two performances each. The company formed a Board of Directors in 2008 which has grown to 12 members.

Over its first twelve seasons, the company has grown to produce three fully staged operas, one Broadway or light opera show, and a holiday program with two performances. In addition, it produces a monthly series of adult education programs, Evenings with the Maestro, established with a Culture Builds Florida grant from the State of Florida. Children’s educational programming includes efforts ranging from a children’s opera to special performances of mainstage operas open only to students, to in-school programs.

In 2012 the company acquired its own home, Opera Central, in downtown St. Petersburg. The building houses offices set and costume construction and storage space, a large rehearsal hall and a small rehearsal hall which doubles as an art gallery. Opera Central has become a cultural hub for the city, with an amazing variety of activities.

The quality of the artistic experience has always been paramount in Maestro Sforzini’s vision. Singers from all over the world have sung for SPO while the orchestral musicians include players drawn from the ranks of the Florida and Sarasota Orchestras. Theatrical aspects, from stage direction, sets, costumes, and lighting are created by professionals in great demand in the industry.

St. Petersburg Opera has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for the quality of its Emerging Artist program and its productions and personnel won numerous industry awards. Sforzini was recently chosen by Musical America as one of thirty international industry professionals as a “Profile in Courage”. These top industry leaders have “taken a risk, spoken out where others were silent – all to the measurable benefit of their arts organizations and the field”.

Collaboration is an important part of SPO’s vision. They believe working with other arts organizations raises the cultural bar for the area. SPO has collaborated with theater companies such as American Stage and A Simple theatre, with local colleges and universities, and with visual artists and museums. SPO belongs to neighborhood associations and chambers of commerce that promote improvements to the quality of life.

The St. Petersburg Opera Company is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation. All charitable contributions are fully deductible to the extent permissible by law.