Sarasota Opera’s Victor DeRenzi knighted by the Italian government in Miami ceremony

Honor recognizes Sarasota Opera’s 28-year-long Verdi Cycle

(From left) Gloria Bellelli, consul general of Italy; Francesca DeRenzi MacBeth, DeRenzi's daughter; Victor DeRenzi; and Stephanie Sundine, DeRenzi's wife. Contributed photo
(From left) Gloria Bellelli, consul general of Italy; Francesca DeRenzi MacBeth, DeRenzi’s daughter; Victor DeRenzi; and Stephanie Sundine, DeRenzi’s wife. Contributed photo

The Italian government has bestowed the title of Cavaliere dell’ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the order of the Star of Italy) on Victor DeRenzi, artistic director and principal conductor of Sarasota Opera, the Opera has announced.

The distinction is accorded to those “who have helped spread Italian culture throughout the world,” a news release says. DeRenzi was recognized for his leadership in Sarasota Opera’s 28-year-long Verdi Cycle, which came to a close on March 20, the release points out.

“As a musician, and a citizen of Italy and the United States, it means a great deal to me to have been invested as a Cavaliere dell’ordine della Stella d’Italia, which acknowledges my devotion to Italian music and the completion of Sarasota Opera’s Verdi Cycle,” said DeRenzi in the release. “I have loved Italy since I was a child, and its arts have been at the center of my life and have given me constant enjoyment.”

DeRenzi was honored by Gloria Marina Bellelli, Italy’s consul general in Miami, during the Italian National Day Celebration on June 1, which commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Italian Republic, the release notes.

Begun in 1989, the Verdi Cycle was Sarasota Opera’s “commitment to perform all the works of Giuseppe Verdi, both operatic and non-operatic, intended for performance,” the release explains. Sarasota Opera is the only opera company in the world to have performed all of Verdi’s music, and DeRenzi is the only person to have conducted all of Verdi’s works, the release points out.

On Jan. 30, the City of Sarasota recognized the company’s achievement by renaming the block of Pineapple Avenue from First Street to Main Street Verdi Place, the release notes.