If you love opera, or even if you're just a little opera-curious and want to get a feel for the art form, Sarasota Opera has a fun free evening planned for you.
Today, the company will celebrate Giuseppe Verdi's 200th birthday with a program of music, talks and tours.
Verdi, of course, is one of opera's greatest composers, writer of innumerable melodies and titles even non-opera-lovers recognize, including "Aida," "La traviata" and "Rigoletto." He's a special favorite of Sarasota Opera, which has devoted itself to performing every note Verdi ever wrote.
The festivities begin at 4 p.m. at the Selby Public Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota, with special exhibits and performances by Sarasota Opera artists.
The celebration at the Sarasota Opera House starts at 5 p.m.
Here's a schedule:
5-5:30 p.m.: Learn the music and poetry of the chorus from Verdi's Nabucco, "Va, pensiero," in preparation for the community sing later;
5-6 p.m.: Backstage tours of the William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre;
5:35-6:05 p.m.: Sarasota Opera Studio and Apprentice Artists perform;
6:15-6:55 p.m.: Victor DeRenzi, artistic director/ Sarasota Opera principal and Studio Artists and Youth Opera Chorus perform music by Giuseppe Verdi; and
6:55-7 p.m.: Community sing of Verdi's chorus from Nabucco, "Va, pensiero."
Details: 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, Tickets: Free: Information: 941-366-8450, sarasotaopera.org.
-- Marty Clear