While the Sarasota Opera’s winter season gets underway, the newly revamped Florida Opera Festival is launching its own new season.
The festival is built around Opera Tampa, the resident company of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Rather than a series of performances scattered throughout the year, the company is now presenting most of its programming in February and March under the new artistic direction of Daniel Lipton.
The festival season begins Feb. 7 with a production of Verdi’s “A Masked Ball,” a romantic tragedy about a governor who falls in love with his best friend’s wife. The production receives three performances through Feb. 10, starring Michele Capalbo as Amelia, Mark Walters as Renato and John Pickle as Riccardo.
The annual Opera Tampa Gala is scheduled for Feb. 9, with special honors to lirico-spinto soprano Martina Arroyo. Tickets start at $350. For more information: (813) 222-1037.
For Valentine’s Day weekend, the company presents “Popera!,” featuring popular melodies from such operas as “Rigoletto,” “Turandot,” “Carmen” and “Marriage of Figaro,” as well as Broadway favorites. It features mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne, soprano Micaëla Oeste, tenor Bruce Sledge and baritone James Westman.
The program is presented Feb. 14, 16 and 17 in Ferguson Hall.
The season’s final production is Puccini’s “La Boheme,” with a cast that includes Richard Troxell as Rodolfo, Marianne Fiset as Mimi, James Westman as Marcello and Ella Tyran as Musetta. Performances are March 7, 9 and 10.
There are numerous other events scheduled, including opera movie screenings, open rehearsals and meet-the-artist receptions.
Performance tickets start at $34.50. For more information: (800) 955-1045; strazcenter.org