One of the best qualities of the Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is the variety of music styles performed at its many events.
This variety is great for audiences, but for singers as well, who may enjoy the opportunity to test their range with opera, musical theater, rock ’n’ roll, and even Frank Sinatra.
The festival is keeping tenor Peter Lake (who has worked with the SVF since 2017) very busy with “Forever Plaid,” “Heavenly Duets,” a recital with soprano Shana Grossman, a rock concert and more, but he loves every minute of it.
“I like to sing anything,” said Lake. “I’ll croon, I’ll sing, and then I’ll opera. I’ll do whatever it takes.
“A lot of places like to say, ‘welcome to our family here at such and such festival,’” Lake continued. “It’s all talk of ‘musical family’ and ‘the ties that bind us,’ but here at Savannah VOICE Festival it’s actually real.
“Not that there aren’t senses of family at other places, but here there is a very strong sense of actual community and true care from the people that are in charge. Not only that, but you are working with the greatest musicians, teachers, colleagues that the business can have to offer. It really is a dream place to work.”
One of the highlights of Lake’s many SVF performances is “Old Blue Eyes: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra.” Lake originally created the show several years ago at the Mississippi Opera.
“I was able to put together the songs I thought would work, and I wrote up a script,” Lake explained. “It’s meant to touch on the highlights of his life and career, but as I wrote it, it became something more. It became about who he was as an artist. We know a lot about the scandals and the marriages and the fast living, but for me it became about what drove this man musically. I really found a kindred spirit in Frank, at least in his need to sing.”
Lake didn’t exactly grow up singing “The Lady is a Tramp” in front of the mirror into a hairbrush, but he still loved to perform. “As a kid it was really more about the Beatles and a lot of rock ’n’ roll,” said Lake. “I got into opera when I went to college.”
Lake moved to Bucharest with his missionary family when he was 6. There he sang at church with his family and performed in choirs and band. He then moved back to the U.S. in 2006 to continue his music education. Lake had done a lot of musical theater, but a voice teacher encouraged him to try opera and he was cast in “The Magic Flute.”
“For me it was about more acting and more singing on stage which is all I wanted to do — tell stories and communicate,” said Lake.
Since then he has performed in recitals and operas around the world, and most recently debuted as Pinkerton in an English-Japanese translation of “Madame Butterfly” for the Pacific Opera Project.
Besides his Sinatra tribute, Lake will be a part of The Elite Party Band and their “Old Time Rock N’ Roll: Music of the ’70s” performance. Expect to see Lake belt out hits by Elton John, Barry Manilow, Bob Seger, The Eagles, and Queen. Lake can sing opera and rock, but wait until you hear him croon.
“It’s not a Sinatra impersonation,” said Lake. “It’s more of a tribute, but in my heart of hearts I like to think of myself as Sinatra’s shadow — capturing the essence without trying to mack on his personality.”