Tosca - Photo courtesy of Sarasota Opera

An Arts Sampler to Spice up the Summer

Summer in Sarasota means different things to different people: the beach; family getaways; long, lazy afternoons escaping the heat; easy reservations at restaurants, and best of all -- a special menu of performances and festivals at the area's celebrated arts and culture venues. The temperatures may be rising, but so are the opportunities for music, opera, dance and theater lovers from around the world.

Sarasota Orchestra

Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center
709 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-953-4252

For three weeks each June, student musicians, guest artists and visiting faculty from all parts of the globe team up for the Sarasota Music Festival, a diverse menu of chamber music, including recitals, lectures, intimate concerts, artist showcases and more held at Holley Hall and the Opera House. This year's eagerly anticipated Festival runs from June 4 to 20. The opening concert is Music by the Masters, showcasing senior Festival faculty on the violin, bassoon, piano and French horn, with music by Bach, Kogan, Mozart and more. Festival attendees will enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The Sarasota Orchestra's Master Works, Pops, and Great Escapes performances resume in the fall, however, Chamber Soirees featuring principal orchestra musicians kick off on the afternoon of September 20 at Holley Hall. Called "Around the World", with the featured artist TBA, the first program will include works by Coleman, Tüür, Arnold, and Brahm's Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor.

Sarasota Opera

61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-328-1300

"La Bohème" launches the highly anticipated Verdi Cycle Grand Finale Season of 2015-2016 at the Sarasota Opera on October 20, but until October 4, art lovers can enjoy a summer of superbly produced opera, ballet, theater and classic movies on the big screen in HD at the Opera House, starting June 11 with "L'Ellisir d'amore" from the Royal Opera House.

"La Fille du regiment" from the Vienna State Opera debuts on June 25, followed in July by "Andrea Chenier", again by the Royal Opera House. The Shakespeare Globe Theatre's "The Comedy of Errors" gives audiences a chance to savor a production with authentic Renaissance costumes and staging that garnered laughs and rave reviews for its creativity. August brings the operas "Flying Dutchman" and "Norma", with a highlight of September's offerings the "Balanchine/ Millepied" movie -- consisting of ballets set to the music of Bizet and Ravel at the Paris Opera Ballet. Each HD film is only $20 for general admission seating, providing a cool summer venue for world-class performances at a very affordable price.

Florida Studio Theatre

1241 N. Palm Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-366-9000

Variety is the flavor of the summer at Florida Studio Theatre. Never Marry A Girl With Cold Feet: and other life lessons from Vaudeville carries on until June 7 in the John C. Court Cabaret where you are always welcome to dine before the show. The 2015 Summer Mainstage offers Inspired Lunacy, running June 3 to 21, The Hound of the Baskervilles July 1 to August 2 and Over the River and Through the Woods, July 22 to August 9.

In the Summer Cabaret, it's Six Guitars from June 9 through July 11. Country music buffs will enjoy the hits of Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton in Kings of Country, playing from July 14 through August 15. And swing-era Territory bands get their due with The Swingaroos, from August 18 through September 19. Improv fans continue to enjoy seeing FST Improv actors battle it out in Out of Bounds, every Saturday in Bowne's Lab Theatre @ 7:30 p.m. through August 29. And the 7th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival returns July 9,10, 11 – when national and international troupes pack a punch of nonstop comedy.

Sarasota Ballet

5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
941-359-0099

Fans of the Sarasota Ballet anxiously await the 25th Anniversary season that begins on October 23 at the FSU Center for Performing Arts. Until then, the acclaimed young company will be featured guests at Jacob's Pillow, the international dance festival in Becket, Massachusetts, Aug. 12-16.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

1646 10th Way
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-366-1505

Artistic director Nate Jacobs closes out Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe's exciting 15th anniversary year with a repeat of the Cotton Club Cabaret July 8 to August 9. An audience favorite from 2000, the show presents a musical review from the hottest entertainers of the Harlem Renaissance era…names such as Fats Waller, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Lena Horne. A rousing, toe-tapping time is always on the program. The 2015-2016 Season begins on October 14 with the inspiring gospel, jazz and bluesy musical The Color Purple.

Asolo Repertory Theatre

5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
941-351-8000 

Woody Sez: The Life And Music Of Woody Guthrie continues to entertain at the Asolo Rep with four actor-musicians performing more than two-dozen of the troubadour's songs on 15 instruments through June 21. Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound inaugurates the 2015-2016 season beginning November 3

Venice Theatre

140 W. Tampa Ave.
Venice, FL 34285
941-488-1115

Venice Theatre celebrates the 20th year of a heartwarming partnership with the nonprofit Loveland Center for adults with developmental disabilities in another full-scale MainStage production. The Loveland Follies will present Something Wonderful June 4 to 7. Things keep percolating onstage this summer during the 3rd Annual Summer Cabaret Festival that runs from July 9 to August 30. Local talent will perform a variety of comedy and music in a nightclub style room. This year's Summer Stock offering is the ever-popular musical Godspell from July 23 to August 9. And in its Generations category of productions, the theatre tackles a moving play about children of the Holocaust. I Never Saw Another Butterfly begins September 10 and runs until the 20th.