TELLURIDE CHAMBER MUSIC FEST HITS HIGH NOTE WITH NEFF

Forget Russia. The final concert for the 39th annual Telluride Chamber Music Festival, a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on August 19, hits a high note when mezzo-soprano Erin Neff sings a program entitled “From Spain with Love.”

Two years ago, when Neff performed at a similar concert, she channeled Sally Bowles and the world of Christopher Isherwood from his “Goodbye to Berlin,” the book that became the musical “Cabaret,” turning her trills and thrills to the music of Weill, Schoenberg, Hans Eisler, and their ilk, while doing spot-on impersonations of the likes of Marlene Dietrich. Trust me, the program was a knock-out  – and lots of laughs.

This round, Neff is born again into a Spanish persona, Lola del Fuego, and performs the music of Obradors, Granados, Montsalvatge, Jose Maria Castro, Dvorak, and Classic Mexican Folk songs arranged for Quintet and voice.

Also lending their talent to the program are Ashley Boling, who appears as Salvador Dali and the Master of Ceremonies; Zachary Harris, son of Stephen and Susan Harris, Festival musicians; pianist Ian Scharfe of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Count on supertitles for all songs to promote a better understanding of the texts. And the concert is further enhanced by the off-beat exchanges among the various characters on stage.

Erin Neff made her solo debut with the San Francisco Opera as Blanche in their 2000 production of Louise. Since then, she has returned to make several appearances with the company, including productions of Rigoletto, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Simon Bocca Negra and The Marriage of Figaro.

Neff has also sung with Berkeley Opera, Santa Rosa Symphony, Ensemble Parallele,  Livermore Valley Opera, Composers Inc,  North Bay Opera,  San Francisco Lyric Opera, Festival Opera  and Sacramento Opera, Pacific Orchestra.

Erin Neff is a frequent recitalist and featured soloist in the Mendocino Music Festival, the  Jewish Music Festival and the Telluride Chamber Music Festival. She was invited to the prestigious 2006 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, singing the Alto solo in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle and a concert of all Janáček music. She has also been heard at the San Francisco Symphony singing the Alto Solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.

Equally at home in the operatic, lied and oratorio repertoires, Ms. Neff is much sought after in the vocal profession.

 “Neff’s mezzo soprano finely wove through trills and ornaments to touch our hearts, triumphant…” applauded the Pacifica Tribune.

On Friday, the Telluride Chamber Music Festival features the music of Schubert and Tchaikovsky. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets, $25,are available at www.telluridechambermusic.org, Telluride Music Store, at the door prior to each concert or by calling the Chamber office at  970-728-8686.

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