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SAVANNAH, GA – August 11, 2023 – The Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) will round out their 11th season operas with Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 19 at Savannah’s Cultural Arts Center located at 201 Montgomery Street in Savannah. 

Under SVF Artistic Director Jorge Parodi’s baton, a timeless story comes to Savannah for the first time to win everyone’s heart. Puccini’s poignant score follows the tragic tale of Cio Cio San, a young Japanese girl who falls in love with American naval officer Pinkerton, with devastating consequences. This performance is an exciting collaboration with the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy (TIVAA) which was established to provide Japanese artists specializing in vocal performance unique opportunities to refine their craft with master artists from the United States and throughout the world. Former participants of workshops presented by the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy, founded by SVF Artistic Director Jorge Parodi, will be flying to Savannah to perform in this iconic tragic opera. 

“It has long been an ambition of mine to bring together TIVAA and SVF,” said Parodi. “The opportunity to bring Japanese artists I have worked with in Tokyo to Savannah for our 11th Festival is a dream come true and I hope audiences come to the Cultural Arts Center to experience this unique occasion.” 

In addition, artists participating in this production will work with legendary soprano and VOICExperience faculty member Maria Spacagna, who was the first American-born artist to perform the role of Madama Butterfly at La Scala. She has recorded for Vox Classics, the first commercial recording of the 1904 La Scala world premiere version of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”. Spacagna will be presenting a master class during the Festival at 1 p.m. Thursday, August 17 at the Yamacraw Performing Arts Center located at 649 W. Jones Street in Savannah. 

This production will be directed by Maryanne Telese who has a rich history with Butterfly, both directing it and singing as the lead role. Throughout her 27-year career as a singer, she sang the role of Cio-Cio-San in 367 performances with companies such as New York City Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Opera North, and many more. In some of these productions, she was hired to direct as well as sing the title role. Her extensive career includes productions of “Aida”, “La Traviata”, “Le Nozze di Figaro”, “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “La Boheme”, to name a few, for opera companies across the U.S. 

“The mission of the Milnes VOICE Programs is to enhance and nurture the talent of young professional singers while carrying on the legacy of world-renowned artists, like Maryanne Telese and Maria Spacagna, and we are fulfilling that mission with this production. We hope the community will join us in experiencing this one-of-a-kind performance,” said Maria Zouves, Co-founder and President of the Milnes VOICE Programs. 

Tickets for Puccini’s “MADAMA BUTTERFLY” start at $40 for standard seating and $60 for premium seating. For a full lineup of all Savannah VOICE Festival concerts, performances, master classes and other events, or to purchase tickets, please call 855-766-7372, email or visit 

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. 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. Donations are tax-deductible. 

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