Phoenicia hosts Festival of the Voice

Phoenicia — For the third season, from August 2 to 5, the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice will bring glorious vocal offerings to various sites in Phoenicia.

The four-day festival opens with Divas Unleashed, an operatic comedy in English, staring Maria Todaro, Michelle Jennings, and Bryan Wade. Following the production there will be a fundraising dinner with a Japanese theme, anticipating the opera Madama Butterfly.

Friday performances
Friday offerings include the Brian Friel play “Lovers” directed by Shauna Kanter of VOICETheater. Francis Poulenc’s one woman opera “La Voix Humaine – The Human Voice” is the depiction of a woman having her last telephone conversation with her lover. Starring Camille Zamora. The evening offering, Voices of Distinction: Broadway, will showcase young singers currently in Broadway productions.

On Saturday, The Catholic Church in Phoenicia will echo with the Medieval songs from the Cambridge Chamber Singers. PRANA, and a Mongolian-style throat singer represent World Music at the Festival, and dramatist and celebrated orator Carey Harrison will transport listeners with spoken poetry. A new presenting group, Liederworks, offers “Love’s Kingdom” – the various aspects of love in song.

This year’s opera centerpiece is Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. The tragic story of the young Japanese woman who is betrayed by her American Naval Officer is opera at its most musical elegance. Butterfly is sung by Yunah Lee and Lt. Pinkerton by Richard Troxell. The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra is under the baton of Metropolitan Opera conductor Steven White.

Final day
Sunday afternoon has a charming presentation of Barbershop with ‘Round Midnight and Voices of Gotham – two of the top Barbershop groups in the US (think Glee for guys). The final offering is a choral tribute to composer/performer Peter Schickele, also the foremost interpreter of P.D.Q. Bach. Go For Broke chronicles the experiences of a man who wins the lottery. Concerto for Piano and Chorus: The Twelve Months, features Fleischmann’s resident Justin Kolb on what he gleefully calls a 9 foot Grand piano. Conductor of the combined Community Choruses of The Catskills, Woodstock, and Phoenicia is Douglas Jay Martin who brings experience conducting both classical operatic works and Broadway productions. The final song of the Festival is the traditional singing of Amazing Grace, with the audience joining in.

Other music
In addition, the festival also offers musical treats for children with Story Laurie and Uncle Rock, at the train station. Each festival day opens at Mama’s Boy with Latte Lectures on the day’s music with Met Opera expert Cori Ellison who will also offer a master class in rehearsing singers. Saturday and Sunday each finish with a new Late Lounge at the Sportsman’s Cantina.

Four days of fabulous musical entertainment in little Phoenicia – little but mighty! For tickets and additional information, go to www.voicefest.com or call 586-3588.