A New Verdi Street for the Sarasota Opera House

A New Verdi Street for the Sarasota Opera House. Opera is alive and well in Sarasota, Florida. This master opera composer was all about melody and drama. This first operas were in the two part bel canto style. At first he wrote what is referred to as “cabalettas” . His melodious arias often ended with special closing sections. These sections have quick and uniform rhythm. Many of my blogs are based on the upcoming forefront use of melody. Beautiful music will replace rhythm songs as our main musical thrust. This used to happen in 10 years cycles. I’ve already blogged about how Hoagy Carmichael  set the pace in the 1930’s with his Stardust. Rhythm, as in Rap and Rock n’ Roll, has dominated for over 50 years. Our  Sarasota Opera House is now on Pineapple  subtitled Verdi Street,  Sarasota now leads the way by pointing to the return of melody. Verdi Street is a banner for the return of melody.


.portrait of Giuseppe Verdi

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Extended stage and orchestra pit at the  Sarasota Opera House.

Verdi Street  Commemorates the Complete cycle of Verdi’s operas

Maestro Victor DeRenzi is having his 34th season as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Sarasota Opera. His goal was to perform the complete Verdi opera cycle. This should be completed this season. The street sign was subtitled, Verdi in a new street post, by the city to honor this accomplishment.

Without financial supposrt and backing, the world would have little to no culture. I have blogged about that many times. Take Verdi for example: In 1830, he gave his first public performance at the home of Antonio Barezzi, a local merchant and music lover who financially supported Verdi’s musical ambitions. One of my goals to is contribute beautiful music for the return of melody. My wife and I have written 4 major operas and musicals. Each one has taken two years. This has been mostly done by our own efforts and expense, The list includes: The  Princess and the Peasant, The Cup of Cleopatra, Golden Roads and Three Queens. She is the lyricist and book writer. I am the composer. Samples can be seen on our products page. Our theme is woman rulers who have contributed to civilization.

Octavian and Cleopatra: a 2 Act Opera in English

2011-05-15 13.16.25

Product Description

Octavian & Cleopatra

Lyrics by Sharon Lesley     Music by David Ohrenstein

Octavian and Cleopatra Robby May; Sharon Lesley
This thrilling 2 act opera needs a sponsor, an angel, if you will. We have the video of a full production; complete with the ghosts of Caesar and Antony. and 2 ladies in waiting in this cast of 7. This we did on our own. Now we need help to circulate it. Please help us to continue the tradition. Every composer of the operas  that we now enjoy on stage has had major backing by a country or a rich donor(s). Our musical works offer heart warming, good and solid moral values together with beautiful stories, lyrics and most of all- a return to melody. We will include donors in our dedication. This work took us a full 2 years to write and produce. Here, Cleopatra played by author and lyricist, Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein; General Octavian by Robbie May.

Octavian and Cleopatra
Robby May; Sharon Lesley




Fibonacci hidden content is not so hidden on the piano keyboard

Piano Lessons in Sarasota Florida


Taking piano lessons is an activity for all ages.  Don’t let that phrase, “I always wanted to play the piano,” go unheeded.  I have taught students from the age of four to well into their seventies.  My oldest student was 83 and she decided to take piano to help ease the arthritis in her hands.  And it did.

My own teacher Mischa Kottler playing an exclusive “Minute Waltz”.


Music helps keep the mind relaxed and healthy, increases IQ, and teaches rhythm and timing.  Scientific study has shown that playing an instrument engages more corners of the brain than almost any other activity.  Playing music is a 3D experience.  One must think up and down, horizontally, and within cubic space.  It is good for anyone at any time in their lives.  (For more see Page on the benefits of music.)

Basic Philosophy as a Piano Instructor:

As long as the student is learning what I think they need to know with the pieces I assign, they can bring in and learn pieces of music they enjoy.   I, also, expand their knowledge of repertoire by introducing the student to and demonstrating differing styles of music on the piano.


La Cathédrale Engloutie by Claude Debussy Concert Pianist David Ohrenstein plays La Cathédrale Engloutie by Claude Debussy. Filmed at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, Florida.http://dsoworks.com/ Please watch me on youtube,

Also they say the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Come to taste the pudding at the Gasparilla Inn inBoca Grande,Fl. There, I regularly entertain heads of state, VIP’s, and   former US Presidents with their families. This is my 7th year at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande playing their Steinways. Click on events for dates and times. My goal as a pianist is to honor the memory of my own teacher, Mischa Kottler. I feel proud to be part of a wonderful tradition. I hope my students will feel the same way when they study.


David to play the Steinways at the Gasparilla Inn

December 18, 2015 @ 6:00 pmMarch 27, 2016 @ 9:30 pm

gasparilla inn


Piano Lessons in Sarasota for the Beginner

Beginning students get the benefit of my years teaching both boys and girls.  I have observed and put into practice ways that deal with the differences between how boys and girls respond to learning music.  My approach is to give my students a piece of music that they will enjoy learning and playing as soon as possible so I can teach them what they need to know in a positive framework. The basics to be taught are:

  1. Learning the notes on the keyboard, where middle C is, and what the white notes and black notes are named.
  2. Proper hand position and healthy playing habits to prevent possible future problems and even damage.. Because I was taught and learned the proper hand positioning, in over fifty years of playing, I have been spared trips to the doctor for such problems as carpel tunnel.
  3. Introduction to reading music which includes:
  • quick recognition of notes/pitches written in both the treble and bass staves,
  • the different kinds of notes (such as whole, half, quarter, eighth…etc. dotted, tied….),
  • the time signature,
  • sharps, flats and key signature
  • beginning knowledge of dynamic marking such as loud and soft, crescendo, decrescendo
  • recognition of phrase markings, use of staccato and other musical notations
  1. Beginning fingering and coordination of using both hands together to play music.
  2. Introduction to scales


Piano Lessons in Sarsota for the Intermediate Student

The Intermediate student will have some competency in sight reading the accurate note and rhythms written and coordinating both hands on the keyboard.   Also, the intermediate student will understand the expression marks, and have some understanding of phrasing.

We will cover:

  1. Works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Joplin and other intermediate pieces by popular composers.
  2. Major and minor scales, arpeggios, and practice rules of fingering such as the prepared thumb
  3. Basics of music theory and chord progressions
  4. Ear training
  5. If desired, beginning composition
  6. How to employ varying stylistic approaches for works by different composers, and the rhythmic emphasis in works such as waltz, tango, ragtime, tarantella, etc…


Piano Lessons in Sarasota for the Advanced Student

If you have spent many years playing piano, I have much to offer.  I advocate and continue to use proper touch, posture, and fingerings to keep the hands and arms healthy so the fingers are able to play for hours at a time without fatigue.

My philosophy of playing is to make the melody shine by developing a beautiful singing tone while keeping the accompaniment in service of the melody. Fingering is a tremendous aid in overcoming technical problems encountered in the virtuoso piano pieces.

I share my knowledge of:

  1. Advanced techniques for fingering that enhance smooth and legato playing.
  2. A practice program that includes preliminary warm ups, exercises that develop speed and the layered playing involved in counterpoint.
  3. How to develop a beautiful singing tone on the piano.
  4. Mastering legato and staccato octaves
  5. Special stretching exercises for the fingers.
  6. For performance, I guide and help with individual interpretations to make them appealing to an audience.

If you are interested in signing up for lessons, please feel free to call.