SAVANNAH, GA – 7:00 A.M. October 25, 2019 – Today, on the nation’s first World Opera Day, Savanah Opera Company announces an exciting line-up of four very different styled operas for their 2020 Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF). The eighth annual Festival is slated for Saturday, Aug. 1 – Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020 and will be programed with the theme of a “noble journey” staging the operas: Don Giovanni, La Cenerentola (Cinderella), Escorial, and a new commission – A Royal Feast. The theme for the 2020 festival underlines the noble mission behind the Milnes VOICE Programs, which is celebrating its 20th year of arts education, passing on the traditions of great singing and developing new audiences for opera.
- Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” – Nobility was never this bad! Mozart and DaPonte’s Don Juan story returns to the Savannah VOICE Festival, directed by Maria Zouves and Sherrill Milnes. Milnes conquered the role in his vast career and was the first American to sing it at the Estate Theatre in Prague, were the piece debuted. The couple revives their direction of the work from the Estate Theatre, where they directed Giovanni for two consecutive seasons.
- Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) is an operatic drama performed in two acts. Based on the famous fairy tale Cendrillon, it was written by Charles Perrault and was first performed in Rome’s Teatro Valle on 25 January 1817. Sung in Italian with English Supertitles, the title role will be sung by SVF’s own Jessica Ann Best and conducted by Andrew Bisantz.
- New for the 2020 Season will be the debut of A Royal Feast, by Michael Ching, VOICE Festival composer in residence. “A Royal Feast” is the story of what happens to Cinderella in her “Happily Ever After.” Ching will work with Savannah-Chatham County Public School System students throughout this year in workshops, to jointly compose, build and produce and an outstanding opera debut
- Parlor Opera: Martin David Levy’s “Escorial with other royal stories.” Martin David Levy, known for his work “Mourning Becomes Electra” wrote this one act opera about an aging king and his powerful jester. The work is done is boutique fashion and coupled with powerful scenes from “kingly” pieces such as Verdi’s “MacBeth” and Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena.”
The eighth annual VOICE Festival will also include plenty of longstanding festival favorites and other noble far such as:
- The musical, Camelot, with fantastic lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and magnificent music by Frederick Loewe, based on the life of legendary King Arthur, Camelot has remained a much loved, mythical musical ever since it was first produced in 1960.
- Try Me, Good King is a relatively new piece, composed in 2001 by one of America’s most performed living classical composers, Libby Larsen, who hopes to make a Savannah appearance during the 2020 Savannah VOICE Festival. Larsen is a Grammy award-winner, with over 500 works spanning almost every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over fifteen operas. Try Me, Good King is a group of five songs drawn from the final letters and/or gallows speeches of the six wives of Henry VIII. Having always had an interest in the wives of Henry VIII, she was thrilled when the opportunity came about to research and characterize the Queens through this set of powerful songs. Typically sung in concert style, dramatic song cycles are brought to life in a staged version of the story — with an operatic treatment not typical to its form.
- The Grand Maestro: Acts from Puccini’s La Bohѐme & Madama Butterfly. Directed by Fabrizio Melano, the Grand Maestro Sherrill Milnes hosts one act each from the Grand Maestro Puccini’s most famous works, Boheme, Butterfly and video from Milnes’ movie Tosca.
“Since the launch of Savannah Opera Company (SOC), our operatic productions have gone from strength to strength as we remain committed to not only staging a range of high-quality productions but also commissioning brand new operas for the hostess city working with our talented composer-in-residence, Michael Ching,” says co-founder and Executive Director, Maria Zouves. “We are thrilled to unveil our majestic eighth season on Opera America’s World Opera Day.”
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Savannah Opera Company is part of the Milnes VOICE Programs. Established in 2018, Savannah Opera Company is a growing part of the two non-profit organizations that have been producing classical vocal music in Savannah, through the Savannah VOICE Festival and the VOICExperience Foundation.
Savannah VOICE Festival is a 501(c) 3 tax exempt nonprofit arts organization in the state of Georgia. The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from opera, musical theatre and popular song. Donations are tax-deductible.
VOICExperience Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to pass on the traditions of great singing and develop new audiences for opera. Under the umbrella of The Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs, VOICExperience continues its dedication to the quality, integrity and perpetuation of the vocal arts through life-changing intensives, performances, and community-enriching outreach events in New York, Georgia (with its sister organization, the Savannah VOICE Festival), Florida and Illinois. For more information, please visit www.VOICExperienceFoundation.org.
The Savannah VOICE Festival is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.