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Executive and Artistic Director, Music Director - St. Petersburg Opera Company, Tampa Bay Symphony

Posted By Bill DeYoung


A musician’s musician, Mark Sforzini served as principal bassoon of the Florida Orchestra from 1992 to 2007. During that time, the Alabama native was asked to conduct a production of the grand opera Madama Butterfly at the Palladium Theater – and it was a huge success, for the theater, for the community – and for Mark Sforzini. “I had a deep intuition that it was meant to be my life’s work,” he says. “I loved playing with the orchestra, but I think I was drawn towards, rather than just rendering the one part from within the orchestra, I wanted to be more involved with the creation of the whole product.” Featuring world-class singers from all over the globe, a full orchestra conducted by Sforzini and Broadway-quality sets and costumes, the St. Petersburg Opera Company will begin its 15th season in 2020.

Years in St. Pete

Since 1992, 27 years.

Organizations involved in

I stay busy with opera and the orchestra but I do belong to LA Fitness. We have a membership to the Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, and we donate to the Florida Orchestra and some other groups.

What gets you out of bed every day?

The idea of drinking coffee on my back deck and taking in some of the sunshine.

Why St. Pete?

The people of St. Pete have embraced me and my work, I really feel the support of the community and everybody says this is where the renaissance is happening. I love downtown St. Pete, I love the restaurants, I love the people, I love the vibe.

What is one habit that you keep?

Brushing my teeth.

Who are some people that influence you?

I think I’ve been very influenced by my brother, Andy, who’s closest to me in age, he’s an older brother. Also, my partner Michael Roberts of 26 years.

What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?

The Four Agreements come to mind: Be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions, don’t take anything personally and always do your best.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?

It is indeed healthy to maintain a good work-life balance.

What’s next?

More partnering of arts organizations in St. Petersburg. We’re doing a lot of things with both Tampa Bay Symphony and St. Pete Opera to be collaborating with other arts organizations. Opera Central is becoming a major gathering space in the community, really known as a cultural hub.

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