Sarasota Opera House

Andrea Cannistra
Apr 24, 2020 · 3 min read

The Sarasota Opera House is an historic opera house located in Sarasota, Florida that produces internationally renowned operas and shows, along with education, outreach, and continuing the tradition of enriching the arts in the community.


The Sarasota Opera House hadn’t updated their website in years and needed an upgrade. They wanted to use a new ticketing software to ensure that their users had the best possible experience when purchasing seats for the show. They came to us to facilitate and trusted our design and user experience fully.


I was the art director on this project, working with two designers to ensure that the client’s needs were met, while honoring the tradition of the Opera House in our community. My designers and I were given a plethora of beautiful, rich assets to work with. The building itself is a landmark in downtown Sarasota and is covered in gold accents and lavish structures and we wanted to make sure the website reflected that.

This site had more content than most to organize. It included show detail pages, schedules, history, education, tourism, donations, and special events. So we found a beautiful way to display that information, keep it organized and user-friendly, while showing off the elegance of the institution.

To really hone in on the richness of the Opera, we used navy blue and golds throughout, a tall serif font with beautiful ampersands, and dark watercolor backgrounds to enhance the artistic value. These backgrounds helped the detailed photos to jump off the screen and show off the beautiful costumes of each show.

We wanted to display the great photos we had to work with and entice the user to click on each one. We used tall banner-style links that animated on hover, that also showed the most upcoming shows.

We took a chance on using filigree on the buttons, particularly the primary buttons. Most modern sites keep things simple, but with the beauty of the subject matter, we thought the buttons would add a whimsical and unexpected element.


The website was launched and immediately, the client was thrilled and saw an uptick in sales. The users were able to find what they were looking for quicker, explore the shows, and purchase tickets with ease. It’s a great feeling when the client fully trusts your design expertise and in this case, it produced a beautiful website that enhances the Sarasota Opera House.

Andrea Cannistra

Digital product designer with a passion for web, mobile…

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