Maestro Victor DeRenzi is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Sarasota Opera. He has produced over 100 different operas and conducted over 600 performances for the company.
He has devoted much of his career to building Sarasota Opera while continuing to conduct nationally and internationally. Maestro DeRenzi has appeared across the United States with Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as at the St. Louis, Toledo, and New Orleans and New York City operas. Internationally he has worked in Nice, Edmonton, Québec City, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and at L'Opéra du Montréal. He was also a frequent visitor to opera companies in Hong Kong and the Canary Islands.
Maestro DeRenzi's artistic vision has garnered the company international attention as a place to experience rarely performed operatic works. He initiated Sarasota Opera's Verdi Cycle, which will see the performance of the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi by 2016, the Masterworks Revival Series, which produces neglected operas of significant artistic merit, and the American Classics series dedicated to producing 20th Century operas by American composers.
This growth in artistic reputation has been matched in many other areas as well. Under Maestro DeRenzi's leadership, Sarasota Opera has created important educational and outreach activities. The year-round activities of the Sarasota Youth Opera Program introduce young people, ages of 8 to 18, to all aspects of opera. The program constitutes a remarkable learning and performing opportunity with three Youth Opera Choruses and a tri-annual production of a commissioned and professionally staged opera with the Youth Opera members performing. As part of the 2015 fall season, the Sarasota Youth Opera will mount the regional premiere of Hans Krasa's Brundibar.
Maestro DeRenzi's interest in the training of professional singers led to the founding of Sarasota Opera's Apprentice and Studio Artists programs. Chosen from national auditions, the participants in the Apprentice Artists Program form the chorus for the main stage opera productions, perform community outreach programs, understudy principal roles as well as perform secondary roles on the mainstage. Many former Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists have gone on to perform leading roles with the company as well as with the major opera houses of the world.
Maestro DeRenzi is a noted Verdi specialist. Sarasota Opera's 2015 production of the Paris version of Don Carlos marked the 31st different Verdi opera he has conducted. Arts Critic Lawrence Johnson wrote, “Victor DeRenzi is simply the finest, most idiomatic Verdi conductor I’ve ever heard, and I’m not forgetting some much more celebrated names.” Maestro DeRenzi has also led almost all of the composer's non-operatic output, as well as editing a two-volume edition of his songs with piano, many of which were not previously available. Through the Verdi Cycle, which he began in 1989, Maestro DeRenzi and Sarasota Opera are committed to performing the entire canon of Verdi's works.
Although Maestro DeRenzi is a noted Verdi and Puccini conductor, his repertoire also includes operas by Janáček, Mozart, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, and Stravinsky, among others.
In 2007, Maestro DeRenzi was honored by OPERA America for 25 years of service. The City of Sarasota has recognized him on three separate occasions for service to the community. He was also featured on the cover of the March 2007 issue of Sarasota Magazine, which has twice recognized him as one of Sarasota's 100 Most Powerful People.