Savannah VOICE Festival Ends Successful 2017 Season, Previews 2018 Festival

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

The 2017 Savannah VOICE Festival capped off a newly expanded and highly successful fifth anniversary season with a sold-out finale at Savannah’s First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Aug. 26 and a Festival Gala Dinner on Sunday, Aug. 27. Tim Guidera from WTOC joined Executive Director Maria Zouves to emcee the finale “Funny@Five” concert, which highlighted the comedic aspects of opera, musical theater and song. 

The Festival closed officially with Sunday’s elegant dinner at The Plantation Club at The Landings. It also served as an opportunity for organizers to unveil the full 2018 season lineup for the first time.  Next year, the Savannah VOICE Festival will raise the bar to exceptional heights by featuring an unprecedented four operas and plenty of longstanding festival favorites. And, as was the case with the 2017 season, the annual celebration of classical music will run for three weeks to fit in all the shows, recitals, classes and activities.

Slated to run from Aug. 4-26, 2018, the sixth annual VOICE Festival will present two studio operas: Speed Dating, SVF composer-in-residence Michael Ching’s most popular opera, and Hansel and Gretel, based on the Grimm brothers' fairy tale. It was written by nineteenth-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck and is revered for its folk music-inspired themes. Hansel and Gretel, originally written in German, will be sung in English.

In addition, the sixth annual Festival will begin a new Salon Opera Series. The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois is an English-language comic opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti. Following on the heels of the fifth season’s well-received comedic aspects, this production is guaranteed to leave the audience delighted.

The 2018 SVF’s fourth and main opera, La Traviata, is the famous three-act production by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave which will be performed with English supertitles. It is based on La Dame aux Camélias, a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

Thankfully, though, Savannah VOICE Festival supporters and opera fans around the Coastal Empire won’t have to wait until next August to enjoy excellent vocal entertainment and show-stopping performances.

The SVF will make a triumphant return to Savannah on Nov. 2-4, 2017, for the premiere of another specially commissioned Savannah-centric opera, Anna Hunter – The Spirit of Savannah starring soprano and Festival Executive Director and co-founder Maria Zouves in the lead role. Michael Ching, who composed Anna and her predecessor, Alice Ryley, will again put his masterful skills to work, bringing to life the music for “Anna.” This comedic piece focuses on the remarkable work of Anna Hunter, who assembled a group of women – they came to be known as “The Seven Ladies” – to persuade bankers and businessmen to help them preserve Savannah’s historic structures by portraying them as financial assets to the city.

In addition to the four operas in 2018, fans can expect the long-anticipated return of the ever-popular American Music Concert, Voices in Sacred Song, free masterclasses and much more.  “We achieved a great deal and enjoyed immense success during our 2017 fifth anniversary season, so expectations are high but we’re ready to continue delivering the highest quality performances,” said Zouves. “Whether you’re a fan who has been with us from the beginning or a new friend exploring the festival for the first time, our wide array of concerts and events offer opportunities to experience vocal excellence in many formats and genres. We hope Savannah’s music lovers will join us in November and beyond!”