Romance is in the air as the Savannah VOICE Festival closes out its Davenport House Concert Series with a program entitled “Summer Songs of Love.”
It is the culmination of a four-part series, with each concert representing one of the four seasons. As SVF co-founder and Executive Director, Maria Zouves put it, “This finishes up the last ‘season’ of the season.”
Putting together a program of love songs was a no-brainer for the organizers. “Do you know how many songs there are about love?” Zouves asked. “It’s an easy curation of some beautiful music. We’re going to look at it from a journey perspective, so it will start with the longing for love into the having of love into the losing of love — so it’s a ‘boy meets girl’ kind of thing.”
The hour long performance will feature some of the SVF’s favorite veteran singers including soprano Jessica Best, baritone Chad Sonka and returning tenor Peter Rivera. They will be accompanied by pianist Dan Gettinger.
Also joining the lineup is a newcomer to the SVF roster, Cuban-born Evelyn Saavedra. She has been praised for her “lustrous soprano voice” and as “a gifted young singer to watch.” Zouves always enjoys adding fresh voices to the organization.
“For me that is always fun,” Zouves said. “I love introducing a new voice, and a new talent, and a new heart to Savannah.”
Although she did not specifically say what songs would be included on the program, Zouves assured that there would be a spectrum of styles and genres.
“We love to mix it up, so we are going to have some real pot-boiler, heavy-hitting operatic favorites and then we’re going to mix it up with some art songs, some pop music, some more of the American songbook,” Zouves said. “It’s who we are; we’re opera, musical theater, and song. That’s our brand.”
The performance will take place upstairs in the Davenport House’s parlor room. The small, intimate space has wonderful acoustics and allows audiences to experience the music up-close and personal. Zouves is particularly fond of the parlor room as it was where she debuted the title role of “Anna Hunter: The Spirit of Savannah,” a specially commissioned opera about the founder of Savannah’s preservation movement.
The Davenport House Museum was built in 1820 and is central to Savannah’s history of historic preservation. Although the SVF has worked with the Davenport House before, this concert series has been the first time that they have worked together so closely, and the intention is to continue with the successful collaboration well into the future.
“This particular series is definitely a co-production,” Zouves said. “What they are doing is very special. What they do and how they do it fits in so well with our mission of ‘music to scale’ and the fact that you can do salon events like this with these voices. You can put these voices on any stage and they would be amazing, but to have it be so intimate and have the architectural beauty and history of the Davenport as the backdrop is something I think only Savannah offers.”