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SRQ DAILY Mar 3, 2016

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"By the end everybody's talking and going out together after. It's a very good feeling."

- Meg Hughes, Brew Thru SRQ

[Opera]  Verdi Cycle Nears Completion with 'Legnano'
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

The journey has taken 28 years, but as the Verdi Cycle approaches its close, one final opera remains. Verdi’s ever-popular Aida thrilled through February and runs until Mar. 19, but it’s the rarely performed epic The Battle of Legnano that brings the operatic side of the Cycle to its conclusion. A romance of love and friendship tested against the backdrop of a country at war, veteran Verdi stage director Martha Collins helms the production alongside Maestro Victor DeRenzi.

“It’s been a privilege to be part of this whole thing,” said Collins, who previously directed eight of Verdi’s early operas for Sarasota Opera, including Attila, I due Foscari and Giovanna d’Arco. “They’re all like opening a great present,” she said. Each opera offers challenge and reward, for artist and audience, but with all of Verdi’s work, too many of the early and smaller works get ignored. Fortunately that’s exactly what the Verdi Cycle is designed to combat. “It’s always a wonderful revelation for all of us to find the beauty.”

The Battle of Legnano therefore makes a fitting final entry to the project, in Collins’ opinion, because despite being generally underperformed, “it’s a combination of two of Verdi’s greatest traits – the rousing chorus that makes everyone want to stand up and this great humanism that he’s known for,” she said. Many of the operas were previously relatively unfamiliar to her, she says, before the cycle brought them together. She’s since learned to “have faith in Verdi,” she says. “It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned so much; I’ve grown so much.”

Playing tonight and starring Jennifer Black, Martin Nusspaumer and Todd Thomas, The Battle of Legnano will have five more performances before closing Mar. 18. 

Photo by Rod Millington. Courtesy of Sarasota Opera.

[Food]  Meg Hughes Brings One For The Road
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Whether you want to explore the Sarasota-Bradenton craft beer scene and learn the ins and outs of local flavor or you just want an excuse to day-drink on a trolley with a good-natured bunch of soon-to-be friends, the arrival of Brew Thru SRQ craft beer tours gives reason to celebrate. Officially launched this past Saturday, Brew Thru SRQ offers guided tours on the Siesta Key trolley through the region’s growing brew scene, stopping at both breweries and bars of note. “In two years, Sarasota has gone from one brewery to now eight,” said founder and tour leader Meg Hughes. “Sarasota needs this.” A craft beer aficionado, Hughes lays claim to an extensive collection of growlers as trophies, collected from bars across the nation – proving her craft beer bona fides – and as an entrepreneur and event planner, the endeavor was a perfect match.

The “Full Pint” tour comprises five “brew stops” and takes most of the afternoon. At each stop, the group enjoys complimentary drinks while Hughes offers insights and stories related to the beer or the brewery, and leads little bouts of trivia. Common stops include JDub’s, Big Top and Darwin’s brewing companies, as well as craft beer havens such as Mandeville Beer Garden. After a successful test run with family and friends this past November, Hughes led the first official tour last Saturday with a full trolley of 30 thirsty riders and plans to continue them monthly.

The March tour is already sold out, however, and the April tour has scant remaining seats, so move quickly to reserve a seat. To meet rising demand, Hughes will also be introducing a more frequent series of “Half-Pint” tours comprising three stops geographically themed to explore a particular region of Sarasota. A possible Sunday brunch brew tour could also be in the works, Hughes hinted.

But as much as she loves the brew, the tours are about the people, said Hughes. “I had people over 60 and people in their 20s,” she said, “and by the end everybody’s talking and going out together after. It’s a very good feeling.”

For details and pricing check the Brew Thru SRQ website below. 

Brew Thru SRQ

[Exec Moves]  Jorgensen to Lead SMART

Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy announced that Jody Jorgensen has joined the organization as its new executive director. Jorgensen is the former executive director of InStride Therapy in Nokomis. She studied art and fashion in New York City and has a varied background in marketing, sales, grant writing and non-profit management. She also served as development director assistant for Mote Marine Laboratory and was the manager of the Sarasota Chalk Festival. Jorgensen is an active community volunteer who loves horses and enjoys the outdoors. 

Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy

[Expansion]  Shore to Open Disney Springs Store

Shore is expanding and will open its second Shore location at Disney Springs in June. The 4,300 square feet of retail space will be located in Town Center at Disney Springs and will echo Shore's flagship enterprise in Sarasota. The location will feature exclusive products from an existing range, as well as a new line of limited-edition products only available at Disney Springs. Fitness wear and everyday comfort pieces will hang side by side with the new go-to Shore Movement range. 


[Expansion]  Nutter Enters Hillsborough Market

Nutter Custom Construction, a Sarasota-based residential custom-building company, has entered the Hillsborough County market with a custom colonial Caribbean design at MiraBay in the Southbay and Apollo Beach area.This 3,592-square-foot home will be the first in the MiraBay community for Nutter Custom Construction. The four-bedroom abode has a study and bonus or activity room, which opens onto an outdoor veranda. 

Nutter Custom Construction

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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