This is an amazing old Oprah house and well worth a tour
The tour allows you to explore the interior of the Mertz Theatre and learn the fascinating history of how an authentic 1903 Opera House built in Dunfermline, Scotland was given a new life in Sarasota to become the home of the Asolo Repertory Theatre.
Go backstage and see the stage manager's command center, stored sets and props, the wig shop, rehearsal rooms, actors dressing rooms and, of course, the Green Room.
Travel upstairs to the costume shop for a first hand look at costumes being created for future productions as well as an extensive collection in storage.
Tour the 161-seat contemporary Cook Theatre where the FSU/Asolo Conservatory students perfect their craft as they transition from the classroom to the stage.
Visit the west wing where the internationally known Sarasota Ballet houses its rehearsal studios, education department and costume shop.
Free tours for groups of up to 10 are available November through May at 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., Wednesday-Saturday. Reservations are not required and donations are welcomed. Tours will not occur during special events. Please call the Box Office to confirm dates and times.
This opera house is one of the highest rated in the US and is a wonderful place to get an introduction to opera.
Really - if you give opera a try you'll love it! I recently took my parents to their first opera (despite their protests) and they came out glowing!
Opera was created as cheap entrainment for Italian pheasants so the plots are anything but stiff and formal - they are crazy, zany, fun and often scandalous.
You will be surprised how many of the songs and music score you will know thanks to movies, commercials and cartoons.
ADVICE ON ATTENDING OPERA'S
Yes, operas are often in other languages but English translations are projected above the stage and the singing and symphony are so wonderful that if your like me you'll not even need to read the words to get totally carried away.
The stories are soap-opera-ish - - dying women, men dressed as women dressed as men, betrayal/affairs/suicides/deaths/murders. It can get complicated - so reading the libretto or the story beforehand will help you keep up with the twist and turns of the plot.
Download these from the web (just put the name of the opera into google)
attend one of the Sarasota Opera's free pre-performance introductions – arrive 45 minutes before the opera starts
show up a half hour early to read the abbreviated version in your program. I often have to look at this during intermission to determine who is having an affair with whom.
DRESS - despite Florida's normal casual atmosphere we do dress up for opera - ladies wear everything from slacks, dresses and even formals. Most ladies are in dresses and the majority of men are in sport jackets or a suit/tie. However, if you didn't bring dress clothes with you don't worry - anything but shorts and t-shirts is acceptable - were in Florida after all!
Ladies if your going sleeveless remember to bring a shaw or light jacket the theaters do get cold.
TIME - Opera's are longer than normal plays -depending on the opera it will last 3 to 4 hours -so eat beforehand!
A very highly rated opera house.
The area's peak season begins in February and continues until Easter, when accommodation reservations are necessary. The value season is June through September.
See the link below or call for the latest seasons shows
I consider that the Opera House is the crown jewel of the city. Small, great accoustics and beatiful architecture. Therefore, it's a good starting point for an arts tour of the city.