Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Stage

St. Petersburg Opera unveils new home

Times staff

It's a historic week for St. Petersburg Opera. After years of scrambling for rehearsal space in rented clubs or even board members' homes, the company finally has a home of its own.

On Friday, the company will throw open the doors of Opera Central, firmly planting roots as part of the flourishing bay area opera scene, which also includes Opera Tampa and Sarasota Opera.

"We've taken a big step in investing in the neighborhood to create a cultural hub, but our main focus is, of course, creating great opera productions," said Nancy Preis, chief financial officer of the company and a board member.

The 8-year-old company, steadily growing in stature, takes over a 10,000-square-foot space at 2145 First Ave. S in the Grand Central and Warehouse Arts District, which houses offices, costume and set shops, a music library, rehearsal halls, event space and small performance halls. A free ribbon-cutting and open house will include tours, exhibits, entertainment by SPO performers and refreshments, starting at 2 p.m. Friday. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster will attend.

The company bought the building in August 2012 for $425,000 and spent months renovating it. Built in 1953, the concrete block structure was vacant for several years.

To celebrate, and in conjunction with National Opera Week, the opera has several events there (all-event pass is $60. (727) 823-2040):

Symphonic Chat

A new series patterned after Evenings with the Maestro, but focused on the upcoming Tampa Bay Symphony programs, with maestro Mark Sforzini. The first program is "Lyricism in Brahms' Third Symphony and Haydn's Cello Concerto" will feature Fred Gratta, cello, and Brent Douglas, piano. 6 p.m. today. $12 advance, $15 door. (Sforzini leads the opera and the symphony.)

Late Night Cabaret

Come late for a cocktail and a New York-style cabaret, featuring Ron Earl, Melissa Misener and Jacqueline Graham, with Brent Douglas on piano. 11 p.m. Saturday. $15.

Resident Artists Scenes Program

An evening of opera scenes with chamber orchestra featuring Todd Donovan, Vanessa Rodriguez, Michelle Rego, Aleks Ritums, and more in scenes from Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto and The Barber of Seville. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1. $25.

Chamber Concert

World renowned pianists Rebecca Penneys and Grigorios Zamparis, clarinetist Brian Moorhead, bassoonists Mark Sforzini and Anthony Carlson, and sopranos Johanna Fincher and Vanessa Rodriguez join forces in music of Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Sforzini and more. 4 p.m. Nov. 2. $20.

Comments
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.He’s got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/15/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.He’s got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/16/18
Why this ballet dancer is skipping college in favor of her own St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

Why this ballet dancer is skipping college in favor of her own St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

GULFPORT — Brianna Melton is as serious a ballet student as they come.By her junior year at St. Petersburg High’s International Baccalaureate program, she had already spent four summers training with ballet companies across the country and had narrow...
Published: 06/14/18
What’s on stage: The Illusionists, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ G. David Howard

What’s on stage: The Illusionists, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ G. David Howard

OPENING: DANCING AT LUGHNASAIrish playwright Brian Friel, who died in 2015 at 86, won’t be traveling anymore. But I’ll bet he packed a tidy suitcase. Dancing at Lughnasa, Jobsite Theater’s season closer, manages to address a lot of issues: race, reli...
Published: 06/13/18
Ruth Eckerd Hall tees up comedy, romance and Kristin Chenoweth for 2018-19 Broadway season

Ruth Eckerd Hall tees up comedy, romance and Kristin Chenoweth for 2018-19 Broadway season

Ruth Eckerd Hall rolls out a new lineup of musicals for its 2018-19 season, a mix of comedy, favorite musicals and romance."For the last 35 years, Broadway has always been a staple at Ruth Eckerd Hall," chief executive officer Zev Buffman said in a p...
Published: 06/12/18
A tense night at the Tony Awards ends in euphoria for Largo doctor Jeffrey Grove

A tense night at the Tony Awards ends in euphoria for Largo doctor Jeffrey Grove

Dr. Jeffrey Grove sat three-quarters of the way back from the stage at Radio City Music Hall, waiting for his moment. The Largo physician made the trip with family to New York for Sunday’s Tony Awards, where he hoped to see his investment in O...
Published: 06/11/18
Neal Boyd, ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, dies at 42

Neal Boyd, ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, dies at 42

SIKESTON, Mo. — Neal Boyd, an opera singer who won America’s Got Talent and dabbled in Missouri politics, has died. Scott County Coroner Scott Amick says Boyd died around 6 p.m. Sunday at his mother’s house in Sikeston. He was 42. Amick says Boyd had...
Published: 06/11/18
Parkland drama teens bring down the house with stirring performance at Tony Awards

Parkland drama teens bring down the house with stirring performance at Tony Awards

Members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama team stole the show at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards Sunday night.The performance brought the crowd— many of whom were wiping tears from their eyes— to its collective feet at the Radio City Music ...
Published: 06/11/18