Continuing our commitment to sharing the magic of opera with audiences of all ages, Pensacola Opera’s education and community engagement programs bring live—and now virtual—performances into K-12 classrooms, public parks, and onto computer screens across the region and beyond.
This spring, we will be presenting a fully staged video production of Cinderella, in a 35-minute adaptation made especially for children. Adapted by Joshua Borths from Rossini and Massenet’s operatic tellings of the fairy tale favorite, Cinderella features our 2020-21 Artists in Residence in an HD video format, complete with a post-performance discussion to give students a look “behind the scenes.”
For middle and high school students, our fun and informative “Opera Up Close” program is going virtual as well. Teachers can invite the Artists in Residence into their classrooms for a live performance and Q&A session with students, discussing arts careers and what it takes to be a professional opera singer.
We will also maintain a strong presence throughout our community, appearing in numerous outdoor, socially distanced venues. Our free “Al Fresco” concert series, launched in September, will resume in February 2021. Audience members will have the opportunity to catch the Artists in Residence in one of our local parks, performing arias, duets, and more in an open-air environment.
Bear Family Foundation
Gulf Power Foundation
Janice R. Miller
Escambia County School District
Great Southern Restaurant Group
Santa Rosa County Schools
Society of the Debutante Charity Cotillion
Choctaw Bay Music Club
Italian Cultural Society
Karen and Phillip LeGrand
Montessori School of Pensacola
Dr. Michael Riesberg
Drs. Robert and Karen Huang
Julie and Jeff Sherman
Lt Col Dave and Lyndi Kessler
Mr. and Mrs. Will Merrill
Nan Harper and John Pinzino
Ann and Herb Woll
Despite the trials we encountered during 2020, Bravi was still able to be a part of several events in the early part of the year. Bringing our love for opera and Pensacola together, we took part in the “Snowbird Extravaganza” presented by Visit Pensacola, a community event for seasonal visitors to learn about the best parts of Pensacola businesses and cultural organizations. We lended a hand at Opera events including “Bourbon and Broadway,” an event which showcased our 2019-2020 Artists in Residence, “Jingle Jukebox Gala,” a spirited version of our annual fundraiser for the AIRS and Education programs, and at “That’s Amore!,” a special prix fixe dinner hosted at the Pensacola Opera Center before Easy to Love. Newly introduced, Bravi members volunteered their time at the outdoor Al Fresco events that brought singers out of the theatre and into local parks around the community. The Opera Ambassador volunteers can always be seen at the Saenger Theatre on performance nights in the lobby and assisting during “Cues with the Maestro”; they are an essential part of giving the best experience to our patrons at each and every show.
2021 brings many new opportunities for Bravi. Our partnerships with the Ronald McDonald House Charity, Keep Pensacola Beautiful, and the Humane Society will continue to flourish, and we plan to take a more hands on approach with active volunteering outside of the Opera community whenever we can.
Paul and Joann Safko
Greg Seltzer *
Shawn and Melissa Smith
*2019-20 Frank Brophy Volunteer of the Year
Two years ago, Greg retired to Pensacola after a 36-year career as a professor of ancient & medieval history and philosophy as well as pastoring two Presbyterian churches. He and his wife Judith were overjoyed to discover that Pensacola had an opera venue with a long and glorious tradition. He enjoys volunteering at Loaves & Fishes feeding the homeless, and at United Ministries helping and counseling clients with rent, mortgage and utilities issues. For the 2020 year, he was the President of the Pensacola Lions Club, an international network of volunteers who dedicate their efforts to sight and vision projects, childhood cancer, and diabetes awareness. Greg is especially fond of Pensacola Opera’s outreach into the community, particularly to the young people. After encouragement as a child from his own father, he wholeheartedly believes in the continued introduction and performance of the operatic art form for elementary and middle school aged children, thus creating a new generation of fans and performers. As a member of Bravi, Greg found a great dedicated group of staff members, artists, vocalists, and board members committed to ‘singing on the same page’ to produce and exhibit wonderful opera.