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SRQ DAILY Nov 11, 2016

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"Children's opera is an art form in and of itself and adults cannot do what children do."

- Dean Burry, composer

[Opera]  Sarasota Youth Opera Premieres "The Secret World of Og"
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

First they stole only little things—toys and comic books and the like—and nobody noticed. But when the Ogs kidnap the Pollywog, it falls to the remaining Berton children—Penny, Pamela, Patsy and Peter—and the intrepid family dog to descend into the subterranean world beneath their playhouse and rescue their baby brother. Adapted from the classic Canadian children’s book by author Pierre Berton, The Secret World of Og makes its United States premiere this Saturday at the Sarasota Opera House with newly written orchestral accompaniment from the original composer, Dean Burry. Presented by the Sarasota Youth Opera with music from the Sarasota Orchestra, Martha Collins directs the performance and Youth Opera Music Director Jesse Martins conducts.

First encountering the book when he was commissioned in 2000 to write a children’s opera, Burry opted instead to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, which Sarasota Youth Opera has staged twice since, but something about Berton’s story stuck with him. Like The Hobbit, the colorful cast lent itself well to a children’s opera, but it wasn’t until Burry began raising his own family that he felt it’s full resonance, imagining Berton telling the tale to his own children, for whom the characters are named. It’s a fun and quirky story about little green men living underground, he says, but beneath it all an earnest and honest argument for integrity and self-worth. Children’s literature, like children’s opera, is not to be discounted.

“A lot of people underestimate what children are capable of emotionally and performance-wise,” says Burry. “Children’s opera is an art form in and of itself and adults cannot do what children do.” There is a difference between adult performers and child performers, but it’s a matter of different strengths and knowing how to emphasize those and write for those. Similarly, he says, rock songs given to a string quartet just doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t mean there’s fault in either. In child performers, Burry sees an unadulterated sense of wonder and imagination that lends itself to what he says is essentially pretending. “There’s an authenticity that comes from young people,” he says. “There’s a connection to the roles that’s just magical and that you don’t find a lot with adult performers.” In Sarasota Youth Opera he finds kindred spirits: “It’s not just an educational project and it’s not just something for the kids to do—it really is full-scale opera.”

When speaking about the fresh orchestral score for the Sarasota production, Burry turns almost childlike himself, rattling through pirate songs and cowboy songs and spy songs—all realized with a fullness of sound impossible in the original score, written for only the piano. “Working with a piano duet you have to be creative,” he says, “but for the James Bond song, to have the right cymbals and the brass to really take you into that world is great.” Come Saturday, Burry hopes the audience will be open to the same energy and excitement he felt in its creation and that he sees in the young performers.

“As adults, we all need to reconnect better with that sense of wonder that we had as kids,” he says. “We grow up, we pay taxes, we get jaded and it’s oftentimes that jaded quality that stops us from living our lives.”

The Secret World of Og premieres this Saturday, November 12, at the Sarasota Opera House. 

Pictured: The Berton children encounter a pirate Og. Photo courtesy of Sarasota Opera.

[Festival]  Sarasota Chalk Festival Brings Love and Peace to the Streets

Held entirely at the Venice Airport Festival Fairgrounds from November 11–14, the Sarasota Chalk Festival is gearing up for yet another year outside of the city of Sarasota with “love and peace” as its 2016 theme. Considered the most groundbreaking pavement art event in the world, the festival is just a day away from showcasing countless dazzling images with the incredible ability to trick the eyes of passersby into seeing three-dimensional landscapes and objects on flat asphalt.

Artists such as Kurt Wenner, inventor of the 3D anamorphic pavement art form, and Julie Kirk-Purcell, one of the female pioneers of the form, will make a return to the fairgrounds after breaking the Guinness Book World Records for the largest anamorphic pavement art at the 2014 festival, along with fellow pavement art pioneers Edgar Mueller and Leon Keer, among others. With as many as 240 artists participating, the local art celebration will also be giving 25 novice artists the opportunity to learn this distinct form of art. Using the road surface as their canvas and chalk as their medium, the artist's goal is to make the ground appear to dip inward or rise above.

What makes this year remarkable is the fact that this is the first time since the festival left Sarasota that all the artists will be performing together in one location. Due to the expansive space at the Venice Festival Fairground, the artists will be able to use the space and the natural surroundings to create more impressive traditional and three-dimensional illusions. By incorporating the landscape and other features to the images, such as treetops, the artists can illustrate a more life-like vibe.

“This is the ninth year we are hosting the festival and we’re really trying to get things right for our 10 year anniversary,” says founder Denise Kowal. “This year will be way more dynamic. It will be amazing to see how people from around the world approach this theme.”

The festival will feature food trucks, beverages, vendors and amenities onsite. Admission is $10 per day for adults, $5 per day for students and children 12-years-old and younger are free. Unlimited passes for all four days are $25 for adults and $15 for students. 

Photo courtesy of Sarasota Chalk Festival.

[Good Bite]  Salad Days
Aviel Kanter, aviel.kanter@srqme.com

Continuing with the trend of beautiful, unexpected salads, we come upon the lovely lunch Triple Bibb Lettuce salad at Boca Sarasota. Hand-sized cups of buttery Bibb lettuce get pulled straight from the Uriah's grow wall inside the eatery, a spread of sliced oranges, the natural sucrose caramelizing on the top, encircling the plate. Seven secret herbs add a subtle depth to the champagne vinaigrette, with blistered tomatoes only enhancing the smoky elements and setting off the oranges' sweet. Add some grilled pink shrimp for a splash of salty, or spiced chicken (soaked in buttermilk) for a healthy indulgence.  

Boca Kitchen, Bar & Market, 19 South Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 941-256-3565.

[Recipe]  Pom Moscow Mule

A combination of zingy ginger beer, zesty lime and sweet pomegranate, the University Park Country Club shares the recipe for their Pomegranate Moscow Mule offered at the Park Grille & Cafe. A refreshing, lively and layered cocktail, the versatility of this drink makes it truly an all-weather beverage.  

Ingredients: 2 oz. vodka; 1 oz. pomegranate juice; 1 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds; 1 Tbsp. lime juice; 1 tsp. honey; ½ cup ice; ginger beer; sprig of rosemary.

In a cocktail glass, stir together vodka, pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, honey and ice. Top off with ginger beer and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.  

Park & Grill Cafe, 7671 The Park Blvd, University Park, (941)-359-2995

[Hires]  Nicholas Joins CAN

Community AIDS Network (CAN) announced the addition of Stephen P. Nicholas as its chief medical officer. Nicholas is a patient-focused physician leader with 30 years experience in direct patient care, teaching and healthcare management. He is recognized by top hospital management for his proven ability to drive organization transformation and development while maintaining exceptional patient satisfaction. Previously, Nicholas served as vice president of medical affairs for SSM Health Medical Group where he oversaw four key service lines: cancer care, heart and vascular institute, neurosciences institute and orthopedics. 

Community AIDS Network

[Philanthropy ]  Sarasota Opera Receives $50,000 Grant

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded the Sarasota Opera a $50,000 Arts Appreciation Grant. The grant offers unrestricted funding to area arts organizations in support of their artistic mission. This year’s grant will help support Sarasota Opera’s 2016–2017 festival season, which marks the company’s 58th year of presenting grand opera in Southwest Florida.  

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[Synergy]  Goodwill Partners With Able Trust Foundation

Goodwill Manasota has partnered with the Able Trust Foundation for the second year to expand the High School High Tech (HSHT) program, which was designed and implemented last year for students with disabilities. The program, geared toward students ages 14–22, provides an opportunity to learn about potential career paths in the swiftly growing fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). By enabling students with disabilities to earn a post-secondary education/training, HSHT will increase their graduation rate, enhance their employability skills and expand their future potential for success. 

Goodwill Manasota

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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