The Hermitage Artist Retreat is offering two fascinating events this month with artist programs that include history, the environment and new opera, on December 9 and 11, 2015

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat is offering two fascinating events this month with artist programs that include history, the environment and new opera. The first will take place on Wednesday, December 9 at 10:00 am in the Sarasota Opera House Kamlet Library, 61 S. Pineapple in Sarasota. Hermitage composer Ruby Fulton will talk about Famous Opera Travel Music. Fulton explains that from Mozart to Benjamin Britten to Philip Glass, travel is an important theme in many operas. She hopes to explore different opera composers’ approaches to conveying a sense of movement with music, text and the human voice. Coffee will be served.

On Friday, December 11, the program will take place in the Palm House on the newly expanded Hermitage campus. Beginning at 4:30 pm, writer Gary R. Mormino, winner of the Florida Humanities Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature that includes a Hermitage residency, will share his writings and vast impressions of our Florida beaches. Following the presentation and q&a, visitors are invited to stay and enjoy the beautiful sunset on the Hermitage beach.

According to Mormino, “Serene and sensuous, bewildering and threatening, the beach evokes allusions both sacred and profane. It is our Babylon and Garden of Earthly Delights. It is also our Paradise Lost and Sodom and Gomorrah. The most recurring image of Florida is that of beach. Nearly all representations—the palm tree, chaise lounge, sea oats, gin-clear waters and sugar-white sand—connect Florida to the beach. The sum is greater than the parts. Humans have raced cars, fought for freedom and engaged in high jinks on Florida beaches. The beach is a story of relationships, how people connect with sand and water.”

“Two vastly different and equally talented artists will share their knowledge, experiences and artistry with us next week,” remarked Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “Our Program Director Patricia Caswell does a great job to ensure that each and every Hermitage community program is a unique experience. That is what our audiences have come to expect and we are proud to say, thanks to the amazing artists working here, we can deliver. It’s always informative, new and exciting.”

Ruby Fulton is co-artistic director of an experimental vocal collective, Rhymes With Opera. She has created and performed experimental vocal and chamber opera works in Baltimore and New York City. She performs on violin, horns and keys. She also teaches a graduate music course called Opera Since 1970. At the Hermitage she is working on an hour-long opera for the screen and a collaborative piece for the Baltimore Rock Opera Society. She uses experimental music to investigate popular culture and political issues.

Gary Mormino is an historian, author, frequent contributor to the Tampa Bay Times, Frank E. Duckwall Professor of History Emeritus and past director of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. His books include Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida; Immigrants on the Hill; and The Immigrant World of Ybor City.

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. All Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by the Women’s Exchange and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at

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