New mezzo soprano at Breckenridge Music Festival
This week, the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra delivers high drama, comedy and tragedy -and that just describes Saturday’s show.The next three concerts showcase BMF vocalists Ilana Dorfman, soprano; Andrea Jaber, mezzo soprano; David Moffit, tenor; and Daniel Boye, bass-baritone. Saturday’s performance includes Mozart’s “Magic Flute,” Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.”Every Tuesday, the BMF presents a smaller concert, and this week the BMF vocalists perform French love songs by Faure, Debussy and Chausson.Thursday, the orchestra strikes up a grand salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, featuring both the festival vocalists and the full orchestra. The show features tunes from such productions as “State Fair,” “The King & I,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma!”
Jaber joins the orchestra for the first time this summer, though she impressed Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman a decade ago, when she sang in North Carolina for a semi-staged production of “Don Giovanni,” which Zimmerman conducted. He asked her to “send materials,” which, in the music world, means she had an open-ended invitation to work with him.She never quite got around to sending her materials, but as fate would have it, one of her teachers, who’s also a friend of Zimmerman’s, helped the two reconnect when the instructor noticed the BMF was looking for a mezzo soprano soloist. Needless to say, Jaber got the job.This summer, BMF concerts highlight her versatility, from cabaret to opera and French music.Jaber started showing off at a young age; she often debuted musical shows in her living room for family and friends and attended summer choir camps. In high school, her path was clear: An aptitude test scored music at the top of the scale, and nothing else registered.She planned to major in piano, until she heard a college student play a Chopin Etude, which led Jaber to think she could never play like he did. So, she turned to her voice -and even found a happy ending to her rude awakening in the piano world. It turns out Jaber ended up marrying the piano man, Tom Jaber. Now, the two artists collaborate together, not only in music, but also in parenting three children, one of which is the principal French horn player with the San Diego Symphony, another who works in child protection services in San Antonio, and the youngest, who’s a high school senior and answers the inevitable question of “what do you play” by saying, “football.”While Andrea Jaber raised her children, she spent 15 years working in church music (after earning several academic degrees, including a master’s of music education and a diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia). When she began teaching private voice lessons at Rice University, she took the opportunity to earn her doctor of musical arts degree in voice.In addition to delivering rousing operatic roles, she has performed with the Houston Masterworks Chorus, the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, the Philadelphia Singers and the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra.This summer also introduces Dorfman, a soprano. She chose to join the BMF because “the musicians are excellent, the people are very friendly, and the scenery is breathtaking,” she said.She has had a passion for music every since she was a child and can’t imagine doing anything else, though, she does say, “I suppose if I had longer legs, I would have loved to be a dancer.” She loves the power of song, especially with a full orchestra.”Sitting in the audience, it is hard not to be affected by the mass of sound that encompasses you listening to an orchestra play,” Dorfman said. “Even if classical music is not your preference, it is difficult to discount that many musicians in one place playing a piece written with every instrument in mind. I have never left a concert of high caliber musicians such as the BMF and not felt inspired in some way.”Her favorite presentation of the BMF is the opera.”I love the Mozart and the Verdi, and the Bernstein is just amazing to sing,” she said.And, since there’s more to the players than just music, Dorfman indulged the Summit Daily in answering a few silly questions about her bucket list and personality.”First would be to travel to Greece,” she said about her bucket list. “I want to see the blue, blue water, smell the air, walk up the hills dotted with white houses and taste true Greek cuisine in my mouth. Second would be to own a second home in Europe, possibly Bavaria or Austria, where my husband and I could spend part of the year and bring our children, and when they are grown, their children too.”Out of a list of musical definitions to describe her personality, she chose allegro (lively and fast), presto (direction that tempo is to be very fast) and vivace (brisk, lively and spirited).”I have always been a bright and vivacious person,” she said. “My repertoire often reflects these qualities as well.”
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