By Alexandre Iglesias, Staff Writer
Last Sunday in the Fine Arts Auditorium, the Department of Art, Music, and Theatre presented another entry of the “Piano in the Arts “series, promoted by the artistic director of “Piano in the Arts” and assistant professor of music, Dr. Benjamin Warsaw. He was joined by the co-director of the evening, the soprano Maria Zouves, who is also an educator, director, producer, writer and the co-founder of the Savannah VOICE Festival.
This event of this multiannual series was titled “Come Together, An Evening of Relationships” where, because of the proximity in time with Valentine’s Day, all the songs had something to do with what some people consider the most powerful emotion—love.
Warsaw also commented on why the evening was called “Come Together,” “we’re doing this along with the Savannah VOICE Festival, together. And since we are also close to Valentine’s Day, as you can see in the program all the songs are related with love.”
All the singers of the evening came from the world of opera. One of the songs performed was the mythical “Toreador” from “Carmen” by baritone Chad Sonka. Their backgrounds in opera however didn’t stray them from performing more modern pieces. Baritone Nicholas Yaquinto performed the Elvis Presley love ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which was possibly the best song of the evening.
A step to overcome for the singers was the fact that they had to perform the original versions of a lot of the songs, which added even more difficulty. However, you can admire the artists even more after seeing them overcome these obstacles and perform in an almost perfect way.
All these factors combined together in an enjoyable timeline of piano pieces from the classical pieces of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Franz Schubert to Hugo Peretti, Manos Hadjidakis or the great Leonard Bernstein. It also featured work by the renowned George Bizet, Maurice Ravel and George Gershwin.
When Warsaw was asked if he thought piano has been underestimated in music he responded with, “absolutely not. But what I did see was that there wasn’t a music series dedicated entirely to the piano, at least not here in Savannah.”
Warsaw explained that newcomers can expect to see diversity when they come to watch these shows. “You would never see a concert that is like another in this series, we have concerts relating piano with electronics for example, or even concerts dedicated to other instruments.”
By the end of the evening, the crowd burst into applause after the amazing performances given by the artists had concluded. I left the auditorium smiling and thinking about how the evening looked so boring at first and ended up promising so much. It was the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover.
Warsaw also concluded that they just received the approval of Georgia Southern to continue the “Piano in the Arts” series for at least another year. He said that they will be back next year.
The Savannah VOICE Festival will be held this year from August 4 to the 26. Tickets will be on sale in May.