In 1960 the group, then called the Asolo Opera Guild was formed to present the touring Turnau Opera in chamber-sized productions at the historic Asolo Theater. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater in downtown Sarasota in 1979. Renovations began in 1982 and the theater, now on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1984 as the Sarasota Opera House, the company it housed now being called Sarasota Opera.
Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Victor DeRenzi the company has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle producing the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi. Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs as well as a commitment to education through its OPERA-tion performances for local schools and the unique Sarasota Youth Opera program.