St. Petersburg Opera is proud to announce the transformation of their annual glamorous dinner-and-entertainment gala fundraiser, originally scheduled for May 8, to an online-only extravaganza; Bella Voce—VINCERÒ, May 23rd, 7 pm, online at http://stpeteopera.org/gala.
St. Petersburg Opera, like all local arts organizations, is struggling to find a foothold in the virtual environment forced on us all by global pandemic. The gala theme—VINCERÒ– literally means, “I will be victorious.” The phrase is from the beloved aria “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot. The event’s goals are to celebrate the indomitable spirit of St Petersburg Opera and raise funds for continuation of its programs, stay in the public spotlight, and provide quality entertainment.
Working with sponsor DCE Productions and award-winning auctioneer Jason Alpert, the St. Petersburg Opera will present a special “Nessun Dorma Spectacular” with over a dozen tenors who have worked with the opera company, with other live and pre-recorded entertainment, hosted live at Opera Central in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. Viewers will be able to bid virtually on live and silent auctions and see the progress toward the fundraising goal in real time on their screens. Additional sponsors include David Yurman, Perconti Data Systems, the Mirella Cimato Gallery at Opera Central, and Lee and Jan Davisson.
Creating an all-virtual presentation is a big stretch for a small nonprofit performing arts company, but St. Petersburg Opera is determined to succeed. Says Sforzini, “Since mid-March, when we canceled performances and sent our staff to work from home because of the global pandemic, we have made difficult decisions and kept moving forward. We have learned to livestream on Facebook, put some of our most popular productions online for the whole world to enjoy, called as many of our supporters as we could, and put out a newsletter–or two–every week to keep in touch…”
The event will see Sforzini reprise his little-known routine from a previous opera production, a version of his award-winning turn as 1979 World Hula Hoop Champion, in an all-out bid to attract an audience and raise funds for opera productions. He is clear that these times require great efforts: “It’s not enough to keep our community safe by keeping the theaters dark. We will bring you Opera, we will learn what we must, do what we must, to keep the music going!”
Tune in live at 7 pm, Saturday, May 23, at http://stpeteopera.org/gala. Pre-registration for $10 enables the viewer to get show previews and advance technical assistance, bid on the auctions and participate in the “Bid from the Heart.” An anonymous donor will match the first 250 basic tickets sold four times, for a total of $50 donated to the Opera for each entry sold. The Parkshore Grill VIP Experience, a three-course gourmet dinner for two with wine and delivery within St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach, is $150 and includes entry to the online gala. More information and ticket links are at http://stpeteopera.org/gala.
About the St. Petersburg Opera Company
Founded in 2007 by Maestro Mark Sforzini, the mission of the St. Petersburg Opera Company – a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation – is to enrich the cultural lives of the residents of and visitors to the Tampa Bay area, by presenting fully staged professional opera productions of the highest quality, and to make opera accessible to present and future audiences through community outreach, educational initiatives, and collaboration with other arts organizations.
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