From the blog

St. Petersburg Opera launches a new season with POPera show in Palladium parking lot

It’s exciting for me to see how my colleagues at other arts organizations are finding ways to move forward and continue to be relevant during this dark period for live performance.


The Palladium’s longtime partner, St. Petersburg Opera, is a shining example of how to stay on track when the ground under your feet is constantly shifting. When there  is no such thing as “business as usual.”


I wanted to share a message from Mark Sforzini, the executive and artistic director of SPO about the launch of the opera’s 15th Anniversary Season on Aug. 1. That launch includes a performance stop in the Palladium parking lot on Sunday, Aug. 9, at 7:45 p.m.


Here’s a portion of the letter from Maestro Sforzini:


Dear SPO Family and Friends,


Mark Sforzini

Over 15 years ago, I conducted my first opera in St. Petersburg, Florida. Little did I know that this was the beginning of what would grow into the vibrant, prolific, sensational St. Petersburg Opera Company.


We thrived from the beginning despite the economic crisis of 2008; we expanded offerings and outreach year after year and purchased, renovated, and paid off our building (Opera Central). At times we have been likened to ‘the little engine that could’. And, we did! We now find ourselves amid a pandemic and facing challenges that seem daunting, to say the least.


I am writing today to give you my commitment to see SPO through this current crisis. When we emerge, and we will emerge, there will certainly be changes, but our goal stays the same: to enrich lives through great opera performances, collaboration, education, and outreach.  We are getting even more creative to bring performances to you in ways that address all our concerns for health and safety.


We officially begin our 15th Anniversary Season on August 1.


Season Fifteen will kick off Sunday, August 9 with POPera – a popup outdoor opera float that will stop at 4 locations in St. Petersburg. Here’s the schedule:

5:00pm Westminster Suncoast
1095 Pinellas Point Dr S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

( open to the public just north of the property on 66th Avenue South)


6:00pm St. Pete Side Lot
2133 2nd Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

(open to the public)


7:00pm Museum of Fine Arts
255 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

(open to the public on the grassy, shaded lawn north of the building)


7:45pm The Palladium
253 5th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

(open to the public in the gravel parking lot to the east of the building)


Exciting plans coming up include:


  • Monthly POPera shows at locations around the area


  • A New Artist Recital Series


  • New virtual programs modeled after Mornings with the Maestro


  • Pinocchio in the Park


  • More productions available on YouTube


  • Expanded Facebook Live shows to include interviews with singers, directors, designers, choreographers, and industry professionals.


The bottom line:


We are here for the long haul.


We are learning the skills we have to learn and overcoming the challenges that face us. Maybe I’m biased, but I think of SPO as a winning enterprise, and we have a lot going for us right now:


  • A 14-year history of outstanding financial management


  • Temporary financial help to cover payrolls from the federal PPP program


  • Ongoing financial support from recurring city and state grants


  • Our building (affectionately dubbed “Opera Central”) is owned free of any mortgage payments


  • A great staff and board that are committed to not just our survival, but our success


  • Thousands of loyal donors who are committed to our mission


Musically Yours,

Mark Sforzini/Executive & Artistic Director


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