Press Room

Third Annual Savannah VOICE Festival Features Fully-Staged Carmen Starring Artist-in-Residence Jennifer Johnson Cano and Masterclasses with Artistic Director Sherrill Milnes (Aug 2–16)



The third annual Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) opens on Sunday, August 2. Bringing vocal excellence to its Georgia home each summer, through two weeks of concerts, educational events, and a fully-staged opera, the festival was co-founded two years ago by Artistic Director Sherrill Milnes and soprano Maria Zouves. The definitive Verdi baritone of his generation and the most recorded American opera singer to date, Milnes celebrates twin milestones this year, which marks both his 80th birthday and, in December, the 50th anniversary of his Metropolitan Opera debut. Passionately committed to training young singers and developing new audiences for the vocal arts through the Savannah VOICE Festival and his other VOICE Programs, the three-time Grammy Award-winner continues to make an invaluable contribution to opera.

Milnes explains:

“One of my greatest joys now is working with young singers. I just had a fantastic experience, directing a production of Don Giovanni in Prague with a cast of gifted young singers. It was the first time I had ever directed, and it was marvelous. As for our summer Savannah Voice Festival, I have been looking forward to it for a long time. I love to teach. I was lucky in the beginning of my career to sing with so many of the great, older artists like Bergonzi, Tucker, Corelli, Gedda, Karajan, Bernstein, Leinsdorf, Solti, and Giulini. What I learned from these giants I am now privileged to pass along.”

Sherrill Milnes works with Tiago Matos in a masterclass (photo: George Konstantinidis)

Sherrill Milnes works with Tiago Matos in a masterclass (photo: George Konstantinidis)


The centerpiece of the 2015 festival is a fully staged production of Carmen, starring artist-in-residence Jennifer Johnson Cano. A familiar face at the Metropolitan Opera and a finalist in the 2015 International Opera Awards, the mezzo makes her title role debut as Bizet’s irrepressible gypsy alongside tenor Samuel Levine as Don José, SVF alum Phoenix Gayles as Micaëla, and the Escamillo of baritone Marco Nisticò, with whom Cano previously appeared in Bizet’s masterpiece at the Met. Other performance highlights include a recital by rising star soprano and festival alum Amy Shoremount-Obra; a special preview of Alice Ryley, the new operatic work commissioned by the Milnes VOICE Programs from Hawaiian-born composer Michael Ching; and celebrations of sacred, American, and world vocal traditions, the latter featuring Portugal’s Paulo Lapa and Tiago Matos. SVF singers can take mock auditions with professional directors and masterclasses with Cano, composer David Friedman, director Fabrizio Melano, and – on three occasions – Milnes himself, besides performing in a variety of showcases and in the festival’s grand finale, “Divas & Divos.”

Click here to see festival co-founder Maria Zouves preview the 2015 Savannah VOICE Festival.

High-resolution promotional photos may be downloaded here.

Sherrill Milnes on YouTube


2015 Savannah VOICE Festival
Savannah, GA; Aug 2-16
Produced in collaboration with Milnes VOICE Program’s VOICExperience Foundation

Premier Festival Events
Aug 4: In Recital: Amy Shoremount-Obra
Aug 6: VOICES in Sacred Song
Aug 8: American Music Concert
Aug 9 & 11: Festival Opera: Bizet’s Carmen
Aug 13: Opera Idol: “MISSION AUDITION”
Aug 16: Festival Finale: “Divas & Divos”

Signature Events
Aug 7: Salon Series: “VOICES Around the World”
Aug 14: Salon Series: “Preview: Ching’s Alice Ryley
Aug 16: Festival Finale Gala Dinner

Studio Series Concerts
Aug 2 & 3: Death, by Aria, Parts I & 2
Aug 10: Camp VOICE Showcase
Aug 15: Studio Showcase Part I: “Concerta Lirica”
Aug 15: Studio Showcase Part 2: “Scenes & Songs”

Masterclass Series, presented with VOICExperience
Aug 3, 8 & 10: masterclasses with Sherrill Milnes
Aug 7: masterclass with David Friedman
Aug 13: masterclass with Jennifer Johnson Cano
Aug 14: masterclass with Fabrizio Melano

#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, July 2015



Return to Press Room