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SRQ DAILY Mar 18, 2016

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"My hope and expectation is that each of the presentations sheds a further light on what Sarasota Opera has done."

- Dr. Francesco Izzo, American Institute for Verdi Studies

[Opera]  Verdi Conference Promises Scholarly Complement
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

With only a handful of performances left in Sarasota Opera’s history-making endeavor, The Verdi Cycle, some would say the time has arrived for a bit of reflection. Sarasota Opera offers just that—and a bit more—with this Saturday’s “Performing, Staging, and Experiencing Verdi,” an international conference bringing performers and scholars from around the world to discuss Verdi and Sarasota Opera’s great accomplishment. Organized by Dr. Francesco Izzo, co-director of the American Institute for Verdi Studies, 11 papers will be presented in three themed sessions, concluding with a panel discussion moderated by Sarasota Opera Executive Director Richard Russell. “It’s an enormous achievement,” said Izzo, “and we should reflect upon the significance.”

Entitled “Verdi on the Stage,” the first session will focus on the production side of Verdi’s operas. “Not only what they sound like, but what they look like,” said Izzo. Topics include the production history of Aida, as well as looking at the design and production of operas such as La traviata and Otello.

The second session examines Verdi’s international impact and presence around the globe, with special emphasis on Sarasota – “providing context” to the Cycle, said Izzo. One presentation explores Verdi’s presence in Britain, while another looks at the opening of the Cairo Opera House, where Aida enjoyed its world premiere in 1871. A researcher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present a paper specifically regarding the work done by Sarasota Opera, entitled “Verdi’s American Home.”

The final session before the panel discussion looks at the relationship between music and drama in Verdi’s work, with papers discussing warrior figures through his operas, ornamentation and Verdi’s own relationship with his singers. Izzo will present a paper on Sarasota Opera’s use of the Verdi Critical Edition.

Each presentation is estimated to last around 20 minutes, with 10 minutes of Q&A after.

The conference will conclude with a panel discussion moderated by Russell, who will be joined on stage by Sarasota Opera veterans, including Maestro Victor DeRenzi, Stage Director Martha Collins, Izzo and more. The scholars come from around the world, but Sarasota and the audience here are now tailor-made for it, according to Izzo. “These are people who actually know the operas because they’ve seen them, including the lesser-known ones,” said Izzo of the Sarasota Opera audience. “My hope and expectation is that each of the presentations sheds a further light on what Sarasota Opera has done.”

Free and open to the public, the conference begins at 10am Saturday at the Sarasota Opera House. 

[Opera]  Richard Russell Returns To The Stage
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Going out with a bang, Sarasota Opera concludes the Verdi Cycle this Sunday at the Sarasota Opera House with the Verdi Grand Finale Concert. Not only will audiences be given the chance to hear some of Verdi’s final works, such as the Te Deum and a duet from Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio, which was last performed in the 1840s, but audiences will relive some of their favorite moments from the 28-year cycle as a curated selection of highlights from Verdi’s many works, including arias, ensembles and choruses, is performed under the direction of Maestro Victor DeRenzi. Marking this special occasion, Sarasota Opera Executive Director Richard Russell, who helped kick off the Verdi Cycle years ago as a performer, will return to the stage and lend his voice yet again for some of the final notes.

“In 1989, when we started the Verdi Cycle, I was an apprentice artist and sang in the chorus of Rigoletto. Although I don’t really sing much these days, I thought it would be appropriate to close the circle by joining the chorus for the last piece in the cycle, the Te Deum,” said Russell. “I’m really looking forward to raising my voice with our talented singers—apprentice, studio, principal, and orchestra—and to once more sing under Maestro DeRenzi’s baton. It promises to be a very emotional evening for many of us.” 

[Good Bite]  Jack Dusty Coastal Cuisine
Kaye Warr

In the mood for a sexy cocktail and some inspired seafood? Grab a coveted bar stool at Jack Dusty in the Ritz Carlton and treat yourself to an evening of exceptional service, excellent libations and exquisite food. The bartenders at Jack Dusty are knowledgeable, friendly and always willing to tailor your experience to your specific tastes. I recommend a crisp glass of white wine, a small bowl of blistered shisoto peppers, and the Whole Fried Snapper with pique sauce (Puerto Rican hot sauce) for a truly tasty—and Instagram worthy—meal.  

Jack Dusty, Ritz Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive, Sarasota, 941-309-2266.

[From The Chef]  Chops Salad
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Paul Mattison, proprietor and executive chef for Mattison’s, shares with us this meat-lovers twist on a Greek salad. Noting no meat is more Green than lamb, he slips some baby lamb chops into the salad bowl. Try this recipe at home, complimenting it with Mattison’s house balsamic vinaigrette and tzatziki sauce.

Chef Paul Mattison’s Signature Greek Salad 

Ingredients: 2 lamb racks, 8-bones each; 1 cup olive oil; 1 chopped rosemary sprig; 2 smashed garlic cloves; 2 Tbsp. olive oil; 4 cups lettuce spring mix; 4 quartered small tomatoes; ½ cup halved Kalamata olives; ½ cup crumbled goat cheese; ½ cup diced cucumber peel; Balsamic Vinaigrette; salt and pepper to taste.

French the lamb racks. Mix the cup of olive oil with the rosemary and garlic. Add the lamb and marinate for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Remove from marinade and wipe off excess oil. Season with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining oil to medium-high heat and sear each side of the lamb until brown. Finish in a 375-degree oven to desired temperature (10 minutes or 130-degree internal temperature for medium). Mix the remaining ingredients together and dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Serves four. 

Ingredients (for Tzatziki Sauce):1½ cucumbers; 1 Tbsp. chopped dill; 2 tsp. minced garlic; 1 cup plain yogurt; ½ cup sour cream; juice of ½ lemon; 1 tsp. each, salt and pepper.

Remove the seeds from the cucumbers. Blend the cucumbers with the dill and garlic in a food processor until puréed. Strain well and return to the food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse for 20 seconds. 

Ingredients (for Balsamic Vinaigrette):1 egg yolk; 1 tsp minced shallots; ½ minced garlic clove; 2 tsp. Dijon mustard; ½ cup balsamic vinegar; 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar; 1 Tbsp. chopped basil; ½ cup extra virgin olive oil; ½ cup vegetable oil; salt and pepper to taste.

In a blender, combine the egg, shallots, garlic, mustard, both vinegars and basil. Purée on high until smooth. Reduce speed to low and slowly drizzle in olive and vegetable oils to incorporate. 

[Recognition]  Massaro-Fain Wins AAF Silver Award

Grapevine Communications President and Founder Angela Massaro-Fain was recognized with the prestigious Silver Medal Award by the American Advertising Federation. The honor was presented at the ADDY Awards Gala on Saturday. Massaro-Fain is one of only five recipients of the Silver Award in over 20 years, and the second woman to receive the mark of distinction.Established in 1959, the AAF's Silver Medal Award Program recognizes men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering the industry's standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern. 

Grapevine Communications

[Exec Moves]  Bradenton Hires Hartley as Planning Director

Catherine Hartley was hired as the new director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Bradenton.Hartley comes to Bradenton from Hillsborough County, where she worked as senior planner since January 2013 and assisted with projects such as Little Manatee South Community Plan implementation and Form-Based Code, Comprehensive Plan update, grant research, zoning issues, overlay regulations and Land Development Code amendments.Prior to that, she was the senior planner for the City of St. Pete Beach and Project Coordinator for Renaissance Planning Group in Tampa. She succeeds former Planning Director Timothy Polk, who retired in January. 

City of Bradenton

[Expansion]  O'Brien Tapped by COUNTRY Financial

Terrance J O’Brien, president of First Benefits Group, Inc. has been awarded a consulting contract with COUNTRY Financial, which offers financial security products and services in 19 states. COUNTRY Financial is in the process of expanding its reach and its services, which include property and casualty, life, health, disability and business insurance. O’Brien will provide marketing and sales consulting to the organization. 

First Benefits Group

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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