Sarasota Opera Extends General Director’s Contract

By Nicolas Quiroga
(Credit: Matthew Holler)

Richard Russell has been appointed General Director of Sarasota Opera through the 2025-2026 season.

“We are delighted that Mr. Russell will continue in his leadership role, for the next five years, as we face the challenges of the post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery and our return to full-capacity programming,” said Syble Digirolamo, the President of the Sarasota Opera Board of Trustees, in a press release.

Russell has had an important career at Sarasota Opera that began 32 years ago, when he joined the apprenticeship program as a young tenor.

He sang with the company for multiple seasons before transitioning into a career in banking. He would return to the company in 2005,  taking on a position as Director of Marketing until 2010. After two years as General Director of Opera New Jersey, Russell was appointed Executive Director in 2012.

Russell increased donations by 50 percent during his tenure as CEO and succeeded in fundraising and building Steinwachs Artist Residences, which encompasses 30 units and houses 70 artists. He will continue to collaborate with Artistic Director and Principal Director Victor DeRenzi.