SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE THE PRODUCTION OF “FEAST”, ALONG WITH FREE MASTERCLASSES AS PART OF THE NINTH SEASON

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE THE PRODUCTION OF “FEAST”, ALONG WITH FREE MASTERCLASSES AS PART OF THE NINTH SEASON

SAVANNAH, GA. – July 28, 2021 – The Savannah VOICE Festival’s (SVF) and VOICExperience are slated to offer several educational and outreach initiatives to the Savannah Community as part of its 2021 LIVE Season IX.

At the ninth season of the Savannah VOICE Festival, participants can look forward to attending festival staples “LIVE” and in-person. SVF Co-Founder/Artistic Director Sherrill Milnes and SVF Co-Founder/Executive Director Maria Zouves look to bring back live performances and experiences for the organization’s educational and outreach programs, while keeping participates safe and socially distanced. The Savannah VOICE Festival will include 18 LIVE events scheduled for Aug. 8-22, 2021.

“We are more than thankful for the 8th season of the Savannah VOICE Festival and the efforts the Sherrill and Maria took to keeping our performers and participants safe and at home,” said SVF and VOICExperience’s education and outreach coordinator, Chad Sonka. “Our students and composers have worked tirelessly for almost two years to be able to perform for a live, and socially distanced, audience.”

As part of its mission to serve the community, Savannah VOICE Festival and its sister organization, the VOICExperience Foundation, offer three free Master Classes throughout the first two weeks of the festival. Look forward to a LIVE educational incentive taught by Opera Assistant Conductor and VOICE Faculty member Howard Watkins, Opera Director Fabrizio Melano & Psychotherapist Laura Melano Flanagan, and SVF’s Artistic Director and legendary operatic baritone, Sherill Milnes.Outreach and educational events in schools, retirement homes and for local charities, free teen workshops and masterclasses are always offered at SVF for area artists and partnerships with local arts organizations have always been a vital part of their mission to serve the community.

The Savannah VOICE Festival and VOICExperience’s most imaginative, educational initiatives of last year finally will be presented LIVE! Michael Ching, SVF’s composer in residents commissioned to compose an original opera, “FEAST” for our “Stay-At-Home” Season 8 festival. Both the synopsis and plot for this opera were conceived by students of Esther F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts and Windsor Forest High School. Over the summer of 2020, Sonka and Ching facilitated Zoom workshops with students to create and write some of the music and textual material for the 2020 production of “A Royal Feast”. Continuing to work with them throughout the school year to prepare for the LIVE production of this years performance, “FEAST”. “FEAST” tells the story of what happens to Cinderella in after her wedding to Prince Charming. This sequel to Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” is a magical event with a special message for the whole family.

For more information about SVF, Educational and Outreach Initiatives or VOICE-a-Grams, please visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org.

– ENDS –

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.

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377.

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL PARTNERS WITH OLD TOWN TROLLY FOR THE NINTH SEASON

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL PARTNERS WITH OLD TOWN TROLLY FOR THE NINTH SEASON

SAVANNAH, GA. – July 28, 2021 – The Savannah VOICE Festival’s (SVF) is partnering with Old Town Trolley for the ninth season of the to provide shuttle services from The Landings to the second showing of many performances, helping guests “See the Best”, from Aug. 10 to Aug. 21.

The Old Town Trolley event shuttle services are limited, so get it is suggested to get tickets early! VOICE member trolly tickets are $15 and non-member tickets are $20. Ticket sales for the trolley will end 12 hours before each departure time.

The Old Town Trolley Schedule is:

  • 10th – ARIA at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Telfair Academy.
  • 12th – SONG at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Telfair Academy.
  • 13th – BROADWAY at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Asbury Memorial Church.
  • 17th – FEMME at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Charles Morris Center.
  • 18th – FLASHBACK at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Charles Morris Center.
  • 19th – LIVE at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Charles Morris Center.
  • 20th – ROCK at 8 p.m.: Pickup at 7 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 9 p.m. from Charles Morris Center.
  • Aug 21st – BOHEME at 7:30 p.m.: Pickup at 6:30 p.m. at Skidaway Island UMC, return pick up at 8:45 p.m. from Asbury Memorial Church.

For trolley tickets, please visit AudienceView Professional (ovationtix.com)

Old Town Trolley Tours has the largest fleet of trolleys in the city! With 15 stops, this narrated hop-on, hop-off tour will tell you all about the rich history of savannah in about 1.5 hours round trip. They have been voted “Best Tour” in readers’ poll back-to-back years.

For more information about the Savannah VOICE Festival, or to purchase festival tickets, please visit Home – Savannah VOICE Festival

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SAVANNAH OPERA COMPANY’S PRODUCTION OF LA BOHÈME

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SAVANNAH OPERA COMPANY’S PRODUCTION OF LA BOHÈME

SAVANNAH, GA – July 22, 2021 – The ninth annual Savannah VOICE Festival, staged Aug. 8 – 22 in and around the Hostess City, will include a condensed production of the famous La Bohème opera on Saturday, August 21, directed by the Savannah Opera Company’s Fabrizio Melano and Maestro, Andrew Bisantz.

“La Bohème” will be presented in two one-hour shows at Asbury Memorial Church, located on 1008 E. Henry Street, beginning at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this production are $50 for premium seats, and $32.50 for standard seating. The 5 p.m. showing is graciously sponsored by Marjorie and B.H. Levy and the 7:30 showing by Carolyn Donovan.

The Savannah Opera Company launched in 2018, on the heels of the sixth Savannah VOICE Festival. This brand is the daughter organization of the Savannah VOICE Festival and the VOICExperience Foundation. The Savannah Opera Company continues with the work of the SVF in staging high quality productions in the city of Savannah, GA.

“We are thrilled to say that The Savannah VOICE Festival and the Savannah Opera Company are back LIVE and better than ever,” says the Founder and Executive Director of The Savannah VOICE Festival, Maria Zouves. “The Savannah Opera Company grows stronger every year, this year presenting the famous “La Bohème”. We’d like to thank all our artists, sponsors, and donors for supporting us as we bounce back from the pandemic in an impactful one-hour production and celebrate live performance once again.”

“La Bohème” is the most frequently performed Italian operas. The Savannah VOICE Festival presents an abridged version of Puccini’s love story with Stage Director, Fabrizio Melano, and Maestro, Andrew Bisantz, breathe new life into this timeless masterpiece.

“La Bohème” premiered Feb 1, 1896, at the Teatro Regio in Italy as a four-act opera, set in 1830’s Paris, France. This story portrays the bohemian lifestyle, and tragic love story, of a poor poet and seamstress. Four struggling bohemians – a poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher are living together in Paris, when one freezing Christmas Eve their lives are changed forever. A girl named Mimì knocks on their door looking for a candle light, and she and Rodolfo fall in love. However, the rush of love at first sight soon gives way to something much darker – it becomes clear that Mimì is desperately ill, and that Rodolfo, in his poverty, cannot provide for her. Our bohemians try to find their way, but are soon sharply awoken to the harsh realities of life…

For a full lineup of all Savannah VOICE Festival concerts, performances, master classes and other events, to join the VOICE Society, or to purchase tickets to La Bohème and other events, please call 855.766.7372, email info@savannahvoicefestival.org or visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org

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.

-ENDS-

For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com/912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com/912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL TO HOST MULTIPLE PRODUCTIONS AT THE CHARLES H. MORRIS CENTER

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL TO HOST MULTIPLE PRODUCTIONS AT THE CHARLES H. MORRIS CENTER

SAVANNAH, GA – July 22, 2021 – The Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is partnering with The Charles H. Morris Center for its ninth season to present an impressive week of productions happening Live during the final week of the festival, August 18-20. At The Morris Center, you can look forward to various genres of music with the productions of “FEMME”, “FLASHBACK”, “LIVE”, and “ROCK”.

Each performance will have two showings, the first showing will begin promptly at 6 p.m. and the final showing at 8 p.m. Standard admission to each performance is $27.50 and premium admission is $45, which includes access to a reception following the performance.

Directed by Festival favorite, Jessica Fishenfeld, FEMME is scheduled at The Morris Center for Tuesday, August 17. Guests will enjoy familiar opera arias and scenes with a new twist, while discovering music by women composers. The 6 p.m. showing was graciously sponsored by Elliott C. Bardsley in memory of Marilyn Bardsley and the 8 p.m. showing was sponsored by Nancy Cunningham, in memory of Rev. Augustine W. Cunningham, O.S.B.

Enjoy the FLASHBACK performance on August 18. This event highlights the best of the eighth virtual season of Savannah VOICE Festival. Join the on-screen stars of the Stay-at-Home season as they relive the performances you loved in a new live format. The 6 p.m. showing is graciously sponsored by Carlton & Nancy S. Sheets and the 8 p.m. showing was sponsored by Toby Hollenberg.

The last event as the Morris Center will be on Thursday, August 19. will be LIVE. A year of online streaming burst past the computer screens into the Morris Center as the artists celebrate Savannah VOICE Festival LIVE! With artist you know and love, along with the new faces of Season Nine, don’t miss the passion and legacy of great opera, hosted by globally acclaimed baritone Sherill Milnes. This production is graciously sponsored Dr. Garry & Susan Spector.

Savannah VOICE Festival artists are accompanied by the Elite Party Band for a night of your favorite radio hits. This event will showcase the SVF artists’ versatility with classic rock performances from popular 80s classics. ROCK is scheduled at The Morris Center for Friday, Aug. 20. The 6pm showing was graciously sponsored by Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates and Norburg Chiropractic and Wellness Center and the 8 pm showing was sponsored by Winston Willis.

“Our goal with the festival was to showcase a variety of music that wasn’t just opera. Our ninth season lineup at The Charles H. Morris Center is exquisite,” said SVF Executive Director Maria Zouves. “We are so thankful to Charles H. Morris and the Center for partnering with the Savannah VOICE Festival for our ninth season.”

For a full lineup of all Savannah VOICE Festival concerts, performances, master classes and other events, to join the VOICE Society, or to purchase tickets to any of the Morris Center and other events, please call 855.766.7372, email info@savannahvoicefestival.org or visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org

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.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com

VOICEXPERIENCE TO HOST 15th ANNUAL OPERA IDOL VIRTUALLY ON JUNE 1, 2021

VOICEXPERIENCE TO HOST 15th ANNUAL OPERA IDOL VIRTUALLY ON JUNE 1, 2021

SAVANNAH, GA – May 24, 2021 – For the 15th consecutive year, VOICExperience Foundation (VE) founded by acclaimed operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes and soprano Maria Zouves, will offer their annual ‘Opera Idol’ master class competition. Traditionally taking place in the Chicago area, this annual event will take place virtually on Tuesday, June 1 at 7 p.m. EST, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Four of the following aspiring classical singers will compete in front of an online audience for one full scholarship to attend the Milnes VOICE Studio.

  • Danielle Bavli, soprano, has performed in many operatic productions as well as in productions with Odyssey Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative, and the College Light Opera Company. She was recently named a Semi-Finalist in the 2021 Orpheus Competition and in the 2020 Camille Coloratura Awards. In 2019, she was named a first place winner of the Music Worcester Young Artist Competition and is the recipient of an Emerging Talent Award from the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Bavli recently earned a Master of Music in Opera Performance from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and received a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Vanderbilt University.
  • Hope Metts is an up-and-coming soprano known for her flexible, silvery voice and her vivacious stage presence. Her most recent roles include Belinda from Purcell’s Dido and Aenaeas and La Fée in Viardot’s Cendrillon. She has been a soloist with the Des Moines Choral Society, a member of the Iowa State Singers, and has previously studied and appeared in concert with the world-renowned bass-baritone Simon Estes. Metts currently studies with Mary Creswell at Iowa State University, and will graduate with a BA in Music in the spring of 2022.
  • Courtney Sanders, soprano will be making her debut as Rose in a virtual production of Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus this season. Sanders has completed the following training programs: Classic Lyric Arts Italy, German Vocal Arts Institute, CoOPERAtive, and SongFest. While completing her Bachelor of Arts at Yale University, she was a soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Yale Symphony Orchestra, as well as a winner of the Sledge Performing Arts Prize. Sanders received her Master of Music from the Mannes School of Music. She currently studies with Beth Roberts and resides in New York City.
  • Benjamin Sokol, Jewish-American Bass-Baritone, is a Junior at Manhattan School of Music, studying in the studio of world-renowned Bass-Baritone, James Morris. During his studies, Sokol has worked with wonderful vocal coaches including Andrew King, Dura Jun, Shane Schag and Kenneth Merrill. He has won multiple awards, from his Encouragement Award in the Schmidt Competition to being a Semi-Finalist in the NATS Boston competition. In 2020, Benjamin was the recipient of the Manhattan School of Music Alexandra Hunt Endowed Vocal Scholarship. Additionally, in 2020, he was selected as a Young Artist at SongFest Online. Benjamin is also an experienced choral singer.

Mary Burkhardt Lysaught is donating the grand prize, via The Tom Lysaught Scholarship Fund, in honor of her late husband. The winner will be selected by the renowned group of carefully-selected judges – Juilliard’s Jorge Parodi, the Metropolitan Opera’s Howard Watkins, VOICE Composer in Residence Michael Ching, Northwestern Professor Emeritus Dr. Bernard J. Dobroski, as well as VOICExperience’s Executive Director Maria Zouves.

The Milnes VOICE Studio Online offers a variety of opportunities to develop the singer as a whole artist in preparation for their next step. Participants will come away with new recordings, head shots, career advice, and defined goals. During the week, singers also participate in career development workshops, with topics ranging from vocal health to personal branding.

“We are immensely pleased we are still able to host ‘Opera Idol’ this year, but in a different format, as it presents an outstanding opportunity for young singers who stand to benefit from attending our programs,” Zouves said. “Sherrill and I are so proud to be able to offer aspiring artists the chance to hone their craft while learning more about the performing arts. It’s very rewarding for us, the audience and for those chosen to participate.”

Opera Idol was conceived by Milnes and Zouves as part of their non-profit vocal training organization, VOICExperience Foundation, when the two served as faculty at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. The contest aims to showcase and encourage budding opera stars in a format that emulates popular television shows featuring talent searches.

Milnes, who is a John Evans Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus, and Zouves, who taught the opera workshop as adjunct, joined Northwestern’s faculty after Milnes concluded a long career on all the major stages of the operatic world, including the Metropolitan Opera, where he was the leading baritone for over three decades. It was during this time frame that they founded VOICExperience and, subsequently, Opera Idol.

Streaming “Idol” in this format also allows for more audiences to get to know and enjoy this continuing initiative in the programs. After going online in May 2020, the Milnes VOICE Programs, namely, Savannah VOICE Festival and VOICExperience, have reached over 22 countries with their programming, special concerts, and educational events.

To learn more about Opera Idol, VOICExperience or the Milnes VOICE Programs or to support young artists, please visit www.VOICExperienceFoundation.org.

ENDS

For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the Lesley Francis Public Relations team at 912-417-LFPR(5377). 

Editor’s Notes

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.

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL RETURNS TO LIVE EVENTS

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL RETURNS TO LIVE EVENTS

SAVANNAH, GA – April 28, 2021 – Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) announces a return to live events, outside, masked and socially distanced in line with local and CDC guidelines, on May 13 and May 16, 2021. 

On Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m., artist Lauren Jelencovich will present a 60-minute concert of opera classics, Broadway favorites and popular hits, accompanied by pianist Assaf Gleizner, in Pop Goes Puccini. The event is sponsored by Middy Larson and introduces VOICExperience alumna Lauren Jelencovich to Savannah. This talented soprano performed in the virtual 2021 VOICE Gala earlier this year. On May 13 this dynamic artist will share her music and stories from the VOICE studios to the world’s stages, touring with the world renowned Yanni and recording opera, musical theatre, and popular song. This event will take place on the outdoor patio at Savannah’s Demere Center for Living, 6000 Business Center Drive, located just off Chatham Parkway. Tickets for the concert and reception are priced at $55 per person with a limited number available to ensure social distancing. For more information and to purchase tickets please call 855.766.7372 or visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org

On Sunday, May 16, from 1-3 p.m., SVF joins Hospice Savannah for Back to Before – A Live Juke Box Experience. Celebrate with Hospice Savannah and the Savannah VOICE Festival and enjoy

performances by Lauren Jelencovich, Jessica Ann Best, Chad Sonka, Mariano Gladić, Jessica Fishenfeld, Scott Joiner, Heather Jones, and Maria Zouves, with Assaf Gleizner on piano. This event will take place on the newly renovated courtyard patio funded by the Dr. Deborah Fulmer and John “Jack” Leigh Endowment at the Hospice In-Patient Unit (formerly Hospice House) at 1352 Eisenhower Drive in Savannah.

Hosted by Suzan Kiepper and Ron Krannich, with Masters of Ceremony Rene & Joe Marinelli, this Live Juke Box Experience by the Savannah VOICE Festival will benefit the work of Hospice Savannah’s Palliative Care. Food and Desserts will be provided by local restaurants: Belfords – Cha Bella – Gaslight Group – The Olde Pink House – Yia Yia’s Kitchen. There will be an exclusive VIP section courtesy of The Grey. For more information about the work of Hospice Savannah visit www.hospicesavannah.org Tickets are $75 per person with VIP tickets priced at $150 and are available by calling 912.629.1043 or emailing LLMcKinnon@HospiceSavannah.org.

“These will be our first in person events in Savannah in over a year and we are very much looking forward to returning to live audiences, strictly adhering to COVID-19 prevention protocols,” said Maria Zouves, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Savannah VOICE Festival. “We’re delighted to present our talented alumni and to partner with Hospice Savannah to support their mission and vital work in the community.”

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.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com

LEGENDARY BARITONE LAUNCHES NEW OPPORTUNITES FOR MILNES VIRTUAL TEACHING PROGRAMS

LEGENDARY BARITONE LAUNCHES NEW OPPORTUNITES FOR MILNES VIRTUAL TEACHING PROGRAMS

SAVANNAH, GA – April 27, 2021 – Legendary Verdi baritone, and co-founder of VOICExperience (VE) and The Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF), Sherrill Milnes unveils a special online opportunity for artists around the world.

During the pandemic, the Milnes VOICE programs pivoted to a completely virtual format. In August 2020, for the ‘Stay At Home’ season, the Milnes VOICE studio ran a two week intensive teaching program 100% online. 31 students from across the US and around the world participated in over 400 hours of voice lessons, coaching, masterclasses, and special presentations. This season, the programs plan to offer 1000 hours, both online and if possible, live and in person.

With over seven decades of teaching behind him and degrees in music education, Milnes has been teaching throughout his career. Now he is creating avenues for artists around the world to work with him via an online platform through applications such as Resonance and through his organizations. While private, one-on-one work with Milnes requires being at a high level of singing ability and on a true career trajectory, Sherrill Milnes works in an encouraging and positive manner with all ages and levels in the infrastructure of VOICExperience and the Savannah VOICE Festival’s studio intensive training programs.

Sherrill Milnes is a five-time Grammy® nominated, three-time Grammy® winner and 2008 Opera News Award winner, Milnes is internationally recognized as the leading Verdi Baritone of his time. A world-renowned opera star who sang for over four decades, Milnes has conquered all of the great opera capitals of the world, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; Berlin’s Deutsche Opera; the Paris Opera; Buenos Aires’ famed Teatro Colon; the Liceu in Barcelona; the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; the Salzburg Festival; the Hamburg Opera; and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Milnes is Commendatore of the Italian Republic and a Chevalier of the French Republic and was inducted into the Lincoln Academy, the highest honor the State of Illinois can bestow.

Milnes began his career as a voice teacher and has worked extensively with young singers throughout his career. He has led master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, at most major universities throughout the country and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. More extensive teaching has been done as faculty member of Yale University School of Music; as guest artist at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; the Shanghai Conservatory of Music; the National Conservatory of Music in China (Beijing), the Northern Royal College of music in Manchester, England (where he is a fellow); the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv; Montreal; Puerto Rico; Peabody Institute; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. The legendary artist and educator is now Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus from Northwestern University and continues to teach and judge vocal competitions around the world. Milnes serves as guest artist and special presenter for opera companies around the world, working in apprentice programs and co-directing productions with his wife, soprano Maria Zouves. Having founded the VOICExperience Foundation with Zouves, in 2000, they have mentored singers through training programs and built opera audiences throughout the nation, most recently creating the Savannah Voice Festival, launching in the summer of 2013.

During the pandemic, Milnes and Zouves were able to pivot educational initiatives to an online format.

As the world emerges from the pandemic and artists look forward to returning to the stage, Sherrill Milnes has formalized his virtual educational initiatives into a dedicated teaching experience suitable for students and artists, educational organizations, and musical entities. These programs include master classes and tutorials and include some new topics including a “Practical Magic of Stage” for emerging artists and returning artists as the world plans to open for live performances as the threat of COVID-19 recedes.

Milnes says, “I say to young singers: Sing anywhere and everywhere you can. Give it your best shot every time you’re out there; there’s no such thing as an unimportant date. Because that’s what makes careers. That’s a big difference between opera and other music genres. You can have a hit record in other genres, lip-sync it all over the world… But, in the world of opera, it’s hundreds of performances that make a career. Also, singers need to take the time to prepare. I remember when I was a voice teacher for seven years at Northwestern University and a lot of very smart, young singers somehow thought that once they had a piece memorized, that was the end of their artistic journey with it, and they were ready! Well, not so; that’s where it starts and then you begin to make music. You can be a fast memorizer and that’s great; but, knowing it from memory is not the end of the trip. Making music, saying something, telling the story—that’s what it’s all about.”

To contact Milnes regarding teaching opportunities for your institution, project, or be considered to work with him directly, visit www.SherrillMilnes.com.

To learn more about Sherrill Milnes, VOICExperience or the Milnes VOICE Programs or to support young artists, please visit www.VOICExperienceFoundation.org and www.SavannahVOICEFestival.org.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the Lesley Francis Public Relations team at 912-417-LFPR(5377).

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL COLLABORATES FOR APRIL EVENTS

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL COLLABORATES FOR APRIL EVENTS

Sherill Milnes
Fabrizio Melano

SAVANNAH, GA – April 9, 2021 – Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) announces three virtual events taking place April 20-22, 2021 in collaboration with community partners.

In an exciting new partnership with Savannah’s Telfair Museums, SVF presents Mozart to Puccini: Opera Costume and Set Production – a Chat with Two Met Legends, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. This expert panel is presented in conjunction with an exhibition from the McNay Art Museum’s Tobin Collection of Theater Arts. The program features acclaimed dramatic baritone Sherrill Milnes (654 performances with the Metropolitan Opera), and one of the world’s foremost stage directors for opera, Fabrizio Melano. The two will discuss stories from famous productions in addition to set design and costumes. The panel will be moderated by Maria Zouves, Executive Director of The Milnes VOICE Programs, VOICExperience and Savannah VOICE Festival. This online event is free, but registration is required at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kdmPXwayRDe9j0yhaJKebw

At 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, SVF once again partners with the Jewish Educational Alliance to present a virtual Food For Thought program featuring Festival artists. In this “From Stage to Screen” presentation, artists and editors of the Savannah VOICE Festival will perform some of the segments they have produces during social distancing and discuss the process and stories behind the pivot the Festival made in music streaming. This session will be led by Savannah VOICE Festival Co-founder and Executive Director Maria Zouves.

To celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, SVF renews its partnership with Hospice Savannah with a one-hour online presentation at 11 a.m., which is repeated at 7 p.m. VOICES That Heal: For the Beauty of the Earth is part of a series of informative “listening labs” featuring music from various genres which comfort, soothe, and heal the soul. During this event, Chad Sonka and Kourtney Tigner, MT-BC, will explore music performed by Savannah VOICE Festival artists which relaxes and celebrates Mother Nature. To watch this virtual event, visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org/voices-that-heal.  Learn more about Hospice Savannah’s resources by visiting. Investment is provided by the City of Savannah’s Weave – A – Dream program.

“SVF continues to solidify its position in the Savannah community by extending our partnerships” said Zouves. “We’re proud to present these online spring events in association with leading arts, education and health organizations.”

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.

For more information about the Savannah VOICE Festival please visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org

– ENDS –

Editor’s Notes

Sherrill Milnes is a five-time Grammy® nominated, three-time Grammy® winner and 2008 Opera News Award winner, Milnes is internationally recognized as the leading Verdi Baritone of his time. A world-renowned opera star who sang for over four decades, Milnes has conquered all of the great opera capitals of the world, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; Berlin’s Deutsche Opera; the Paris Opera; Buenos Aires’ famed Teatro Colon; the Liceu in Barcelona; the Bavarian State Opera in Munich; the Salzburg Festival; the Hamburg Opera; and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Milnes is Commendatore of the Italian Republic and a Chevalier of the French Republic and was inducted into the Lincoln Academy, the highest honor the State of Illinois can bestow. He has had the honor of performing for every United States President since Gerald Ford. Milnes has worked extensively with young singers throughout his career. He has led master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, at most major universities throughout the country and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. More extensive teaching has been done at the Yale University School of Music; Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; the Northern Royal College of music in Manchester, England (where he is a fellow); the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv; Montreal; Puerto Rico; and the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. The legendary artist and educator is now Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus from Northwestern University and continues to teach and judge vocal competitions around the world. Having founded the VOICExperience Foundation with his wife, soprano Maria Zouves, in 2000, they have mentored singers through training programs and built opera audiences throughout the nation, most recently creating the Savannah Voice Festival, launching in the summer of 2013.

Fabrizio Melano, stage director, is an established figure on the international opera scene, having worked in leading opera houses throughout the world for more than 40 years. He began a long-standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera in 1969 and has directed 21 operas there, among them seven new or revised productions. He directed Tony Randall in his last play, Pirandello’s Right You Are, with the National Actors Theater and staged a new musical, Asylum, at the York Theater Company. In April 2010 Juilliard presented his production of Dialogues des Carmélites, and the Met and Juilliard his production and staging of Armide in February 2012.

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES THREE NEW BOARD MEMBERS

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES THREE NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Michael Ching
Jorge Parodi
Howard Watkins

SAVANNAH, GA – March 30, 202 – Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) has announced the expansion of its Board of Directors to include three new, distinctly talented members–Michael Ching, Jorge Parodi and Howard Watkins. Michael Ching is the Composer in Residence for the Savannah VOICE Festival. Howard Watkins and Jorge Parodi are part of the faculty at SVF’s sister organization, VOICExperience Foundation, where they offer piano, coaching and conducting. Parodi and Watkins have also been musical contributors to SVF for many years, having worked on productions including Romeo and Juliet, Pagliacci and Traviata with The Savannah Opera Company. Michael Ching and Howard Watkins also serve on the Savannah VOICE Festival Diversity committee.

“It’s essential for SVF’s Board of Directors to genuinely reflect the marvelous diversity of our Savannah community,” said Co-founder and Executive Director Maria Zouves. “We’re excited to welcome these three, fantastic artists and educators, whom we have worked with for many years, to help us serve SVF’s mission of creating a unique destination for music lovers both locally and globally!” 

An opera composer/librettist, conductor, and songwriter, Michael Ching is the composer/librettist of the opera SPEED DATING TONIGHT! With nearly one hundred productions since its 2013 premiere at the Janiec Opera of the Brevard Music Center, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! is one of the most popular operas of the 21st century. His most recent project, ALL DRESSED UP (No Place to Go) for L’arietta Productions in Singapore, includes nine quarantine-related songs which are now part of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! His newest opera, RSBE, had its premiere at the University of Alabama in 2020. In 2018-2019, two new one act operas had their premieres, THRIVERS, at Palm Springs Opera Guild, and EIGHT WOODS AND A VAN, at the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Additional shorter operas in 2018-19 included BIRTHDAY CLOWN at the Savannah Voice Festival and COMPLETING THE PICTURE for Utah Opera’s commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. As Composer-in-Residence of Savannah Voice Festival, Michael wrote ALICE RYLEY (2015) and ANNA HUNTER (2017) two works with Savannah subjects. Other works include SLAYING THE DRAGON and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, opera a cappella, recorded on Albany Records. Michael’s other well-known opera is BUOSO’S GHOST.  BUOSO is a comic sequel to GIANNI SCHICCHI. Recently, BUOSO was performed at the Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Delaware. In 2021, Savannah Voice Festival will premiere his CENERENTOLA sequel, A ROYAL FEAST. Ching lives with his family in Ames, Iowa.

Jorge Parodi was born in Argentina, and has worked extensively in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Recent credits include Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Tampa, Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires for New York City Opera, The Atlanta Opera and Opera Grand Rapids, Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Buenos Aires Lírica (Argentina), Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for the Castleton Festival in Virginia and The Banff Centre (Canada), Offenbach’s Les contes dHoffmann for Opera Orlando; Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges for The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center and the World Premiere of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, the latest opera by John Musto –a coproduction of On Site Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago Lyric’s Unlimited and Pittsburg Opera. Upcoming engagements include his return to The Atlanta Opera and Opera Tampa, and his debut at Chautauqua Opera.  Parodi has been reviewed as having “the most expressive conducting hands since Stokowski” by the New York Daily News. Parodi has also worked with such companies as the Teatro Colón in Argentina, the Volgograd Opera in Russia, the Encuentros Internacionales de Opera in Mexico, the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy in Japan and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel. He has collaborated with such artists as Isabel Leonard, Eglise Gutierrez, Tito Capobianco, Sherrill Milnes, Aprile Millo and Rufus Wainwright and has assisted conductors Lorin Maazel and Julius Rudel, among others. Parodi is also the Music Director of the Senior Opera Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has led its productions to critical acclaim.

American pianist, Howard Watkins, is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians on the concert stage, and an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. His appearances throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, Russia, and Israel have included collaborations with Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecień, Anna Netrebko, and Matthew Polenzani, as well as violinists Xiang Gao and Sarah Chang at such venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the United States Supreme Court, Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the three stages of Carnegie Hall, and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. He has accompanied the classes of legendary artists Renata Scotto, Frederica von Stade, Régine Crespin, Birgit Nilsson, Sherrill Milnes, and George Shirley. Watkins has served on the faculties of the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Mannes School of Music, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the International Vocal Arts Institute (Israel, Japan, and China), IIVA in Italy, the Brancaleoni Music Festival in Italy, the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy (TIVAA), and VOICExperience in Orlando, Tampa, and Savannah. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Watkins completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in accompanying and chamber Music at the University of Michigan. In 2004, he received the Paul C. Boylan award from the University of Michigan for his outstanding contributions to the field of music, and a special achievement award from the National Alumni Association of the University of Dayton.

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.

For more information about the Savannah VOICE Festival please visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com

VOICEXPERIENCE UNVEILS MILNES VOICE AWARD RECIPIENT AND ANNOUNCES VIRTUAL ANNUAL FUNDRAISING GALA – MARCH 25, 2021

VOICEXPERIENCE UNVEILS MILNES VOICE AWARD RECIPIENT AND ANNOUNCES VIRTUAL ANNUAL FUNDRAISING GALA – MARCH 25, 2021

SAVANNAH, GA – January 26, 2020 – Today, VOICExperience (VE) announces that the non-profit organization’s annual gala will take place via its web-based streaming service at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, March 25, 2021. This vital fundraiser will be hosted by legendary baritone and VOICE Co-Founder, Sherrill Milnes and will take place online to protect the health and safety of singers and patrons. The gala will be a night to remember with special guest appearances by opera notables Thomas Hampson, Mark Delavan, Denyce Graves, James Morris, Fabrizio Melano and Frederica von Stade. The gala will feature performances by VOICE Program alumni including Santiago Ballerini, Jessica Ann Best, Emily Yocum Black, Angela De Venuto, Mariano Gladic, Lauren Jelencovich, Peter Lake, Liz Lang, Paulo Lapa, Meechot Marrero, Tiago Matos, Chad Sonka, Jonathan Walker-VanKuren, Melanie Spector and Hanna Atsedewoin.

During the gala, renowned baritone, Thomas Hampson, will be presented with the prestigious 2021 Milnes VOICE Award. Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, hails from Spokane, Washington. He has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. He enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes winners of a Grammy Award, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. Through the Hampsong Foundation which he founded in 2003 he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.

Supporters of a new goal to fund 1,000 hours of education at $100 per hour for emerging artists in 2021 will be sent a link to access the Gala which streams at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 25. For each $100 donated, lovers of the classical voice will help support one hour of training for a young artist and have access to a celebratory concert that celebrates the initiative. Additional levels of support such as on-demand event viewing after the show’s debut, exclusive access to future masterclasses and prominent sponsor recognition are also available. Further information about this goal and other sponsorship opportunities are available at www.VOICExperienceFoundation.org

Co-Founder and Executive Director of VE, Maria Zouves, said, “We are delighted that we will be able to celebrate Thomas Hampson as our 2021 Milnes VOICE awardee this March and that this wonderful gala will support our training programs this year. We know from over 20 years’ experience at VE that just one hour of training can change a young artist’s life. This Gala takes place every year in New York City, but during these times we can span the globe to create an international program for all to enjoy. The Milnes VOICE programs have completed several very successful ‘stay at home’ concerts and educational initiatives during 2020 and we are confident that we can deliver a high-quality event to our patrons in New York and beyond via our web-based streaming. In many ways we have embarked on a brave new world for us and our classical artists — building a virtual, eclectic content with performances that translate the VOICE concerts and experiences from stage to computer screen.”

VE and all the Milnes VOICE Programs continues to host all its programming online until it is safe for audiences and artists to return to live concerts. VE also plans for its annual Opera as Drama program to take place online from March 13-20, 2021. This prestigious program focuses on the interpretation of opera with leaders in the industry. Singers work with Sherrill Milnes and stage director Fabrizio Melano on scenes and arias, studying original texts and source material. Faculty and guest lecturers offer insight into the opera industry and assistance with career development.

To learn more about the gala, VOICExperience or the Milnes VOICE Programs or to support young artists, please visit www.VOICExperienceFoundation.org.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the Lesley Francis Public Relations team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

Editor’s Notes

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.