Florida Grand Opera: La Traviata

She was one of the most desirable women in Paris but was labeled by society as “la traviata,” a woman who has gone astray. When she at last meets a young man with whom she truly falls in love, his father demands a supreme sacrifice from her to save the family’s reputation. Her broken heart and the disease that ravages her body bring her to an early and tragic death. Verdi’s Violetta Valéry is one of opera’s most sublimely drawn characters, and La traviata has continued to captivate audiences for more than 150 years. Verdi’s glorious music and Violetta’s moving demise make La traviata one of grand opera’s most compelling experiences.

 

Show Details

May 02, 2013 – May 05, 2013

BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
201 SW 5 Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
954-462-0222
Admission: $60-$200

Sandy Shaughnessy On the Future of “Culture Builds Florida”

 Sandy Shaughnessy, is the director of Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs.

 

A&G – WHY CULTURE BUILDS FLORIDA?

Culture Builds Florida was established as a campaign for the Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida’s state arts agency, to spotlight the vital role of arts and culture in our state. The initiative was launched with a well-attended conference in Tampa that attracted representatives of various sectors, including non-profits and for-profit businesses, state and local government, and artists themselves. Along with a dedicated social media strategy, we established the Culture Builds Florida blog to spotlight the Division, and the role played by the arts in Florida’s economy and lifestyle. Our agency will use Culture Builds Florida to successfully promote the arts, and to show how they benefit every resident of this state, and every visitor to this state.

 

A&G – WHY NOW?

When Florida’s economy suffered during the national recession, cultural organizations felt a significant hit. As our state’s economy recovers – and even when it’s back to full-strength – we need to stress the importance of the arts and culture to our state. And to show how Florida’s cultural community contributes to our economy in a very significant way.

 

A&G – WHAT’S THE MAIN GOAL/MISSION OF CULTURE BUILDS FLORIDA?

Our primary mission is to grow public understanding about the benefits of arts and culture to Florida’s lifestyle, and to its economy. 

 

A&G – WHAT ARE YOUR THREE MAIN PRIORITIES NOW?

The three main priorities for this campaign have remained consistent. Culture Builds Florida intends to advance the conversation about arts and culture – and their benefits for our state and its people. We’re also working to engage Florida’s broad and diverse cultural community, particularly those organizations and businesses unable to participate in the Division’s grant programs, in order to unify our cultural community. Finally, we want to position the Division of Cultural Affairs as the leading resource about Florida’s cultural treasures, in order to help our cultural community thrive.

 

A&G – TELL US ABOUT THE ECONOMIC IMPACT, ON FLORIDA, OF THE CULTURAL SCENE.

The arts and cultural industry have an annual impact of $3 billion in the state of Florida, and they contribute to a better life for all Floridians, and a better experience for visitors. With an $8-to-$1 return on investment for public dollars, the arts are an excellent investment. Visitors and residents alike make important contributions to our economy by supporting them. And beyond the dollars and cents, the cultural community contributes in myriad other ways to the quality of life here. You can read more about the economic impact of the arts at www.florida-arts.org/resources/factsheet/. 

 

A&G – HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE, IN GENERAL, THE CULTURAL SCENE/AMENITIES IN OUR STATE?

Florida’s arts and cultural scene is unmatched in its diversity. From major urban centers to rural landscapes, you can find the arts – and talented people creating them – everywhere. You can learn about the whole world and its history through the arts in Florida. You can find traditional African drum and dance alongside the great symphonies and ballets of the European masters. Our museums showcase art that’s contemporary and ancient, international and local. And Floridians can access a wealth of cultural resources without traveling far.

 

A&G – HOW CAN WE MORE-EFFECTIVELY GET THE MESSAGE OUT ABOUT FLORIDA’S CULTURAL AMENITIES…TO BOTH VISITORS AND RESIDENTS?

Everyone needs to be an arts advocate. Spread the word about the festivals, museums, theaters, artists, and performers that you’ve been enjoying. Sometimes people can be too quick to assume what others will or will not be interested in based on age, wealth, or other demographics. Encourage everyone to check out the cultural amenities in our state, from street musicians and outdoor murals to concert halls and upscale galleries.

 

A&G – HOW, IN YOUR VIEW, CAN FLORIDA’S CULTURAL AMENITIES ENHANCE OUR ECONOMY?

Florida’s cultural amenities and organizations already enhance Florida’s economy in a big way. In 2012, Florida was home to 67,487 arts-related businesses that employed 217,406 people. Over 57-million people attend cultural events in our state each year. In addition to ticket prices, attendance at these events also generates income for other local businesses, such as restaurants, parking garages, hotels,  and retail stores.

 

A&G – DO YOU THINK, IN SOME WAYS, THAT OUR IMAGE OF SUN AND FUN HURTS THE PERCEPTION OF OUR CULTURAL AMENITIES?

I don’t think it hurts the perception of Florida’s cultural offerings, but perhaps it overshadows it sometimes in the popular imagination. I think they can – and should – go hand-in-hand. For example, some of the greatest visual art from our state depicts our beautiful landscapes, among them beaches. We should use art to promote the “fun in the sun” aspect of Florida…but also encourage visitors who come for the beaches to enjoy our cultural offerings, as well.

 

A&G – DESCRIBE HOW YOU SEE THE FLORIDA CULTURAL SCENE IN TEN YEARS.

That’s hard to say, but I believe that if we all work together to show the importance of the arts to Florida’s economy and quality of life, our cultural scene will be in a very good place. If we can encourage more business, community, and government support for our cultural organizations, they’ll be more resilient when faced with unforeseen economic or environmental events. And everyone in Florida, as well as everyone who visits Florida, will reap the rewards.

 

A&G – HOW CAN ART & GATOR HELP ENHANCE THE RECOGNITION AND PERCEPTION OF THIS STATE’S CULTURAL LIFE?

Art & Gator can be an important resource for both Floridians and visitors, by connecting them with our diverse cultural organizations and events. By promoting culture along with Florida’s outdoor offerings, I think Art & Gator has the potential to raise the profile of both…and to show that they often go hand-in-hand. A trip to Florida that doesn’t involve arts and culture is a missed opportunity – and Art & Gator can help spread that message.

 

A&G – WHY ARE YOU PARTNERING WITH ART & GATOR?

Art & Gator partly came out of the initial Culture Builds Florida conference, and because the magazine has many of the same goals as the campaign, we’re happy to be on the same team. We hope to see Art & Gator flourish, and continue its important work in promoting Florida’s cultural offerings.

 

A&G – HOW DO YOU SEE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CULTURE BUILDS FLORIDA AND ART & GATOR EVOLVING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

I hope we’ll be able to help Art & Gator draw attention to some of the great cultural events in our state, many of which come from the Division of Cultural Affair’s grantees. As we help Art & Gator spotlight some of these organizations and their offerings, we hope the publication can, in turn, help further the goals of the Culture Builds Florida campaign, by promoting our cultural community.

 

A&G – WHAT’S YOUR MAIN MESSAGE TO OUR STATE’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY?

The cultural industry puts Floridians to work, stimulates tourism, and provides accessibility to quality community services that attract skilled workers. It’s an industry that provides jobs, highlights the diversity of our state, creates connections to our heritage…and reminds us that Florida is truly a special place in which to live and work. When employees are involved in the arts, they’re more engaged, creative, and productive. Any way you look at it, the arts are good for business in Florida!

 

A&G – WHAT’S YOUR (PERSONAL) MAIN MESSAGE TO FLORIDIANS?

This year, as we commemorate the 500 years since Florida’s first documented European encounter with the Viva Florida 500 celebration, I encourage all Floridians to check out the great arts and culture events in their communities. History is told through art, and the accumulation of art throughout history builds our culture. In 2013, take advantage of the arts to appreciate this state, its people, and its history.

 

A&G – WHAT’S YOUR MAIN MESSAGE TO THE READERS OF ART & GATOR?

Florida’s cultural diversity provides a wealth of opportunities for visitors and Floridians alike. There’s always something new to discover here. So take advantage of it, and help us spread the word that Culture Builds Florida. Visit:www.culturebuildsflorida.org

 

About Florida Division of Cultural Affairs

The Division of Cultural Affairs supports the arts and culture in communities throughout Florida through services, resources and grants. Visit: www.florida-arts.org/

Kooza by Cirque du Soleil in St. Petersburg

Cirque du Soleil Kooza St. Petersburg

Cirque du Soleil puts on many astonishing shows under its banner, and Kazoo is no exception. Premiering in Montreal on April 19, 2007, the show gets its name from a Sanskrit word that means “magical container.” The Kooza show centers on this container called a “bataclan,” a large traveling tower on the stage that moves over the course of the show and alters the stage for dramatic effect. Come see this cast of incredibly talented performers as they unleash the magic container of Kooza.

St. Petersburg Tropicana Field Tickets

Although Cirque du Soleil Kooza will be performing at Tropicana Field for a good run, these tickets are highly coveted and will sell quickly. Don’t miss your chance to see what so many have described as the most breathtaking performance of their lives. Kooza is an electrifying show that introduces audiences to a world of wonder and imagination. Be part of the experience. Get your Cirque du Soleil Kooza theater tickets today!

 

Stay Over In Comfort

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, featuring a newly renovated lounge-like lobby, library, café, resort shop and expanded Promenade bar, is the only luxury hotel on the West Coast of Florida with the combination of a private marina, 18-hole golf course & 12-court tennis complex.  Book Your Stay Now!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ / Oct. 25th – Nov. 11th

Music by Thomas “Fats” Waller
Based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby,Jr.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the finger-snapping, toe-tapping, Award-winning musical tribute to jazzman “Fats” Waller and the rich and swinging era of 1930s Harlem. Experience high-society Manhattan nightclubs like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom in an evening of rowdy and humorous songs, including “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The Joint is Jumpin’,” “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” and many others.

Call for showtimes and tickets 772-231-6990

COST:  $30-$58

LOCATION: Riverside Theatre Vero Beach, FL

For More Information, Visit: www.riversidetheatre.com

Visit Central Florida

Welcome to Central Florida’s Polk County, where wide-open spaces meet up with sparkling lakes, fragrant orange groves, exciting attractions and unique downtown. Our unmatched beauty, with abundant culture and history, make us the perfect location for a fun family vacation or a quiet retreat.

(visitcentralflorida.org)

Visual Brilliance and Acoustic Excellence at Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre

The historic venue, one of the state’s few remaining ‘atmospheric’ theaters, has endured the Great Depression and Elvis Presley’s rolling hips.

By real estate standards, it’s an old, high-maintenance building that would benefit from a better location. And it may be haunted.

But when measured by historic standards, the Florida Theatre is priceless. Since 1927, the atmospheric theater has swept more than 4 million guests on a journey from Jacksonville to the Mediterranean. The venue’s visual brilliance is mirrored by an acoustic excellence so true that performers can (and do) serenade the audience sotto voce.

It is, observes director of development Angela Gieras, “A most magnificent place.”

The Rise and Fall… and Rise

In the 1920s while making movies for the masses, Paramount Pictures’ Adolph Zukor was simultaneously building the Publix Theatres Corp., a nationwide chain of movie theaters. In 1927, an elaborate link in this chain opened just in time on East Forsyth Street in downtown Jacksonville. Soon after, the reality of the Great Depression erased the corporation and future fantasy-inspired theaters.

In a setting as fantastic as a palace, yet as intimate as a living room, it was the ultimate roots music performance as a sole singer serenaded an attentive audience.

Yet even though the Florida Theatre survived and thrived for more than a half-century, changing tastes, urban blight and B-movies couldn’t rustle up an audience, and the curtains came down in 1980. Most accepted its doors would be closed forever before cultural and civic organizations and business and political leaders remembered an old axiom: “The show must go on.”

By 1983, individual donations and government and corporate grants resurrected the Florida in an ambitious floor-to-ceiling renovation. In its transformation into a performing arts center, preservationists kept the masterpiece nearly intact, saving the theater’s original doors, box office, Spanish tile, plasterwork and wrought iron. Rescued from the trash and again clinging to columns were hand-blown glass grapes and artificial vines.

At the Florida since 2007, director of marketing Kendall Barsin remains enchanted with the stylized accents that flow from the lobby and into the Moorish courtyard, through the promenade and mezzanine and into the great hall where tapestries, starburst lights and pipe organ reeds accent a proscenium arch. Barsin’s enthusiasm is borne of the theater’s beauty and buoyed by the dedication of its staff.

“After the recession hit in 2008 and sales declined, all of us took pay cuts,” she recalls. “We were all willing to do more, to fund-raise more, to wear more hats and share the workload. We operate as a family because we’re very proud of this theater.”

This fall, when the 13-member staff and nearly 100 volunteers mark the Florida Theatre’s 85th anniversary, they’ll reflect on a show business history that, in August 1956, made American history.

The Hillbilly Cat

Elvis Presley, just 21 and fueled by high-octane talent, was booked for two days of shows at the Florida in 1956. Alerted by civic groups to Presley’s borderline burlesque, Duval County Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding summoned Elvis to his chambers, and according to a 2006 interview with Gooding’s son, Judge David Gooding, the two agreed Elvis would be allowed to wiggle from side to side – just not back and forth.

To ensure Elvis stayed true to his word, Gooding (and his three appreciative daughters) attended the shows.

Although Presley toned it down, he never forgot the experience. A dozen years later, while recording what became known as his ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis jammed with guitarist Scotty Moore and recalled, with some elaboration, “Remember Florida? The police filmed the show because they thought I was… something. So I couldn’t move. I had to stand still. The only thing I could move was my little finger – for the whole show!”

You’ve Got a Friend

Today the Florida Theatre is in esteemed company. Across the state, only a handful of atmospheric theaters remain: Lakeland’s Polk, Miami’s Olympia and the eponymous Tampa Theatre.

“It’s a fantasy-inspired theatre that puts you in an eclectic Mediterranean setting,” Barsin says. “These were movie palaces with a regal setting.”

Operating a historic theater is a challenge, and for nonprofits, the hurdles are even higher. Capital campaigns are a constant and bids on performers are largely dependent on donations and other sources of income. Barsin says offering tours of the theater introduce its beauty to newcomers, while rentals for independent productions and awards ceremonies also enhance programming. The Friends of the Florida Theatre program provides needed funds and returns dividends through advance notices and priority seating.

For the past 20 years, Eric and Cindy Norman of Brunswick, Ga., have driven the hour south to see Alice Cooper, B.B. King, Tom Jones, Foreigner, Willie Nelson and a jukebox worth of performers at the Florida.

“There’s no theater like this is in our part of Georgia,” Cindy says. “There’s not a single bad seat here. It’s like the performers are playing just for you. At every show, they’ll remind the audience how beautiful it is. And when we bring friends, we love their expression when they see the Florida for the first time. It’s awe-inspiring.”

“And the acoustics are immaculate,” adds Eric. “You think you’re listening to the world’s best stereo system.”

To generate more income, the performing arts center each summer returns to its roots as a movie palace with a series of cinema classics such as Mutiny on the Bounty, Casablanca and To Kill A Mockingbird shown from an actual film projector. Additionally, the program director has been tapping into a new generation of patrons by bringing in acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, Slash and Jane’s Addiction. For slightly older fans who recall when music was played on vinyl, the lineup features artists including the Moody Blues, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett and Gordon Lightfoot.

“Performers love it when they have the chance to play here,” explains Barsin. “Even if it’s their first time here, they’ve already heard about us and look forward to it. Weeks before Jewel appeared, she went to our website and then right to Twitter and wrote ‘I can’t wait to play this theatre! It’s beautiful!'”

From Elvis… to Elvis

More than a half-century after Elvis Presley was warned about getting too shook up, Elvis Costello was approaching the end of a three-hour performance, a musical marathon inspired, no doubt, by the splendor of the venue.

When his band disappeared into the wings, Costello, alone on the stage, stepped toward the apron. Nearly 2,000 people fell into silence as he sang “Alison” – a capella. There were no lasers, no effects, no amplification, no pyrotechnics.

In a setting as fantastic as a palace, yet as intimate as a living room, it was the ultimate roots music performance as a sole singer serenaded an attentive audience. From the stage to the spotlights, every whisper and every breath could be heard.