Sarasota is first city to feature chalk-set opera

Sarasota will be the first city in the world to present live opera in a set rendered in chalk. Virginia Haley, president of Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau, Denise Kowal, Sarasota Chalk Festival founder, Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton and Sarasota City Mayor Suzanne Atwell met at the Sarasota Opera House this week to announce this and other new developments for the 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival Nov. 1-7. CREDIT: Karen O’Dowd

Sarasota will be the first city in the world to present live opera on a set rendered in chalk at the Fourth Annual Sarasota Chalk Festival. The unique addition to this year’s festival partners the Sarasota Opera with Avenida de Colores to present excerpts from “Madama Butterfly.” The excerpts will be performed on an outdoor stage with chalk sets created by Baltimore designer and artist Michael Kirby.

There will be three one-hour performances: at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6 at the corner of South Pineapple Avenue and Dolphin Street in Sarasota. Kirby, who creates unique 3D chalk art around the world, will produce this unique performance venue with local artisan Kumpa Tawornprom and contractor Richard Hoffman. The set will focus on the floor paintings, and the seating will be stadium style.

The 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival will run Nov. 1-7 and is free to attend. More than 250 artists participated in the 2010 event. This year’s event is expected to draw 80,000 to 100,000 people. To learn more about the 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival, visit www.chalkfestival.com.

-Karen O’Dowd

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