Sarasota Opera Brings Classic Films to the Screen



Following on the success of its popular HD at the Opera House series, Sarasota Opera is bringing even more films to be screened in the Historic Opera House with a new series called Classic Movies at the Opera House. Beginning August 18 with a showing of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth (filmed in large part in Sarasota), and, running through September 22, five classic films from 1935 to 1972 will be screened in total. “We look forward to letting our audience take a step back in time by experiencing these classic films in the space they were intended to be seen,” says Sarasota Opera Executive Director Richard Russell.

Beginning with the August 18 screening of The Greatest Show on Earth, the series continues each following Friday with a different classic film. On August 25, Singin’ in the Rain receives a similar revival, followed by Casablanca and A Night at the Opera, and concluding on September 22 with The Godfather. “We hope to both introduce a new audience to these films, as well as bring back wonderful memories for those who hold them close to their hearts,” says Russell.

Similar to the HD at the Opera House series, the goal is to “have fewer dark nights” at the Sarasota Opera House and use the facility to its fullest for the community. And while screening films will never replace opera (the projection booth is actually temporary and can only be installed in the opera off-season, from May to September, as it interferes with stage productions), the notion is entirely in line with the building’s history, which began as a movie house and vaudeville theater. Sarasota Opera still has the program from the stage’s very first performance, in April 1926, which included the screening of a silent film and onstage musical performances. “They did everything here,” says Russell. In that spirit, Classic Movies at the Opera House kicks off in grand style, with not only a showing of The Greatest Show on Earth, but accompanying entertainment from the performers of Circus Arts Conservatory.

Running from August 18 to September 22, tickets for Classic Movies at the Opera House go on sale August 1. Tickets are $10 for individual shows and each showing begins at 7:30pm.

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