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Opera and other musical words
A crash course in the rest of this week's concerts

This weekend, the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus does something it doesn’t do too often – a night of opera.

A Night of Great Opera, if you don’t mind. That’s what the April 21 concert has been titled.

Conductor Peter Shannon, the orchestra and chorus have worked out a program of arias and choruses from La Traviata, Aida, Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro and other well–known operas.

Guest soloists are soprano Belinda Evans and baritone Teit Kanstrup, both of whom were here in early 2011 for the Savannah Phil’s take on Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte.

It was the very first American visit for the the British–born Evans, who lives in London.

“I think I was really lucky to be visiting Georgia, as a first time, because everybody was so friendly and we just had brilliant hosts,” she says in a phone interview from the U.K. “And the weather, obviously, which I really need to come back for because it’s absolutely hideous here. We’re actually in a drought, would you believe it?”

Evans, who’s the permanent soprano in the Chapel of the Guards (at Buckingham Palace), keeps a busy concert schedule throughout England and Europe.

“At the moment, I’m teaching lots of voice, one–on–one,” she explains. “Just because opera’s so quiet right now, because of the credit crunch.

“Luckily for me it’s come at a time when I’m quite prepared to just teach a bit and have a bit more stability. I was running around doing tours, and off all over the place the last five, six years. And now I’m actually thinking ‘Well, I don’t mind being in London just for a while and getting some regular pupils.’ I teach in a school and a college, so I’ve got a real variety of kids and young adults that I teach. They keep me on my toes, and I’m enjoying that.

“And then I’m free to do concert work – I’m doing a lot of it this year, which is great.”.

A Night of Great Opera is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at the Lucas Theatre. Tickets are $16–$65 through

Here’s a roundup of several other notable events this weekend in the Savannah music world:

The Charlie Daniels Band/Little Big Town

At 8:15 p.m. Friday, April 20

Forsyth Park Bandshell


Liberty Mutual Insurance’s “Legends of Golf” tour is in town through Sunday, and this concert – “a free gift for the community” – is part of the package. The 75–year–old Charlie Daniels is, of course, one of the few living legends of Southern Rock, with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” a tune that still resonates for a lot of folks, even if the jingoism of “The South’s Gonna Do It,” “In America” and his other long–ago hits has probably faded from collective memory. The Alabaman Little Big Town is one of those ubiquitous mixed–sex country bands that sprung up weed–like over the last decade or so; their biggest hit was “Bring it On Home” in 2006.

Laurence Juber

At 8 p.m. Friday, April 20

Randy Wood Guitars, Bloomingdale


A finger–style acoustic guitar virtuoso, Juber has won a couple of Grammys, released two well–received CDs of Beatles interpretations, scored a film or two, and wrote the music for musical theater adaptations of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch (to be fair, the late Sherwood Schwartz, creator of those hoary old TV comedies, was Juber’s father–in–law). Juber is best known as the lead guitarist in the very last incarnation of Paul McCartney’s Wings (1978–81). We asked him, via e–mail, about his solo show: “I do some Beatles, Wings (‘Live & Let Die’), ‘great American songbook’, pop songs, originals, stories, humor,” he says. “It’s an entertaining and dynamic pop show, not a recital. Typically, I don’t sing, although once in a while I might do something as an encore. And I tend to keep the music theatre stuff separate from the guitar repertoire.”

The Rites of Swing

At 5 p.m. Sunday, April 22

AASU Fine Arts Auditorium


Saxophonist Eddie Pizant solos with the Savannah Jazz Orchestra at the group’s 26th annual springtime tribute to the great Duke Ellington. A Savannah native, and a member of the Coastal Jazz Association Hall of Fame, he nevertheless grew up in Beaufort, S.C., where he helped charter the Beaufort Express Band. Did we mention that Pizant spent 11 years playing sax in the Lionel Hampton Orchestra? Or that he actually gigged with Billie Holiday ... and is a 20-year member of New York’s Cotton Club Orchestra? The 16–piece Savannah Jazz Orchestra, led by trombonist Teddy Adams, includes most (if not all) of the area’s finest freelance jazz players. Priscilla Albergottie-Williams is on vocals. As for tonight’s honoree, Adams once raved in these very pages: “Duke Ellington was the consummate musician. Most folks think of him as a famous band leader, but he is really underrated as a pianist. He was actually the main influence on Thelonious Monk, and a lot of people don’t know anything about that. Additionally, he is one of our greatest composers.”