Savannah VOICE Festival Gala -- 'Opera with Southern Charm' February 12th

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, February 10th, 2017

The fourth annual VOICE Gala at New York’s second oldest exclusive private social club will be a star-studded operatic blend of New York and Georgia.  Themed as "Opera with a Southern Flair", opera legend and VOICExperience co-founder Sherrill Milnes will host a sumptuous dinner of elegant low-country fare and introduce performances by international singers such as Eric Owens, (2017 Musical America's "Vocalist of the Year"), Michael Fabiano (2014 Richard Tucker Awardee) and VOICExperience's own rising stars Amy Shoremount-Obra and Santiago Ballerini. They will be joined by the 2017 young artists of the Milnes VOICE Programs in an entertaining night of world class music.  Renowned tenor Neil Schicoff will be honored with the 2017 Milnes VOICE Award and there will be a special memorial tribute to Fritz Weaver, Tony Award winning actor and emeritus faculty of the VOICE programs, who passed away last November at the age of 90. Actors Tony Roberts, Len Cariou and Weaver's wife Rochelle Oliver will join the evening.

New for 2017, Milnes will co-host this annual tradition with Atlanta based opera star, Jamie Barton.  Born in 1981 in Rome, Georgia, mezzo-soprano Barton is the winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, both the Main and the Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a Grammy nominee.  Attendees will be given a copy of Barton’s new CD All Who Wander which features songs from three composers – Gustav Mahler, Antonín Dvořák and Jean Sibelius.

Maria Zouves, Executive Director of VOICExperience and The Savannah VOICE Festival said, “We are very excited about our plans for 2017 – our producing arm to the VOICE Programs, the Savannah VOICE Festival, is its fifth year and it just felt right to theme our New York Gala to reflect the relationship between NYC and the charming Savannah city.  There is a real cultural affiliation developing between Savannah and New York which sort of reminds me of the artistic links shared between Paris and Athens in Europe.”

This fantastic gala is the culmination of VOICExperience’s annual Opera as Drama week in New York City which runs from Feb. 5-12, 2017 at Manhattan’s National Opera Center at 330 7th Ave.  This year, Milnes and Zouves, the program directors, will be joined by a talented team of faculty members, including pianist/coach Kristen Kemp, pianist/conductor Jorge Parodi, stage director Fabrizio Melano, and pianist/coach Jane. 

Highlights of this week include a Milnes Master Class at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 at and on Thursday, Feb. 9, attendees will be treated to VOICES Around the World, a concert of international song slated for 7:30 p.m. Renowned stage director Fabrizio Melano will lead a master class at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10. He will focus on the exciting dramatic elements of drama, and psychotherapist Laura Melano Flanagan will offer her professional insights as she works with singers on the psychological aspects of scenes and arias. The intense theatrics continue on Saturday, Feb. 11 with the Opera as Drama Showcase. The concert’s unique format features dramatic scenes in words and music, and will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the opera center’s Marc Scorca Hall. This cleverly crafted presentation, hosted by Milnes, takes audience members from a dramatic reading to its operatic scene equivalent. Ticket prices for these events are $35 each with specially discounted $10 student tickets offered at the door.

To purchase tickets or for an exclusive invitation to the gala, please call 855-76-OPERA or visit Any VOICE supporter who plans to make the journey to New York City to be a part of this special week can reserve hotel rooms at a special rate. VOICExperience’s hotel partner, the Hilton Garden Inn at 121 W. 28th St., is honoring a discounted VOICExperience fee of $119 per night. For more information or to book a room, please call 212-564-2181.