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May 31, 2013

Saving the art song

'Belle of Amherst' to be feted in musical recital


To help her audience connect with this music, Soll’s program includes materials about Dickinson that will be read between songs. These include “very personal” snippets from Dickinson’s own letters, and excerpts from letters and reminiscences to and about the poet by her family members, friends and neighbors.

“What I’m trying to create is a form based on art song, some kind of artistic entity” that combines singing and speaking, Soll said.

The songs, excerpts and narration are woven into a seamless whole, “so there should be no applause from beginning to end,” she said. “We’re really just introducing Miss Emily. The singers will tell a little bit about her life, and her thought. ...

“We’re not trying to give a big history lesson. We’re trying to be utterly charming; it’s almost like a conversation among the three singers.”

The poet lived her whole life in Amherst, from 1830 to 1886, and rarely left her house.

“She began to be a recluse, afraid of people, in her late teens and early 20s,” Soll said. “She was spiritual, but she didn’t worship God quite like her family did.”

The recital highlights the talents of three singers who are members of Boston Singers’ Resource, an online network serving classical singers throughout New England.

“It’s a little over 10 years old, the brainchild of Lynn Shane, a local performer and singer from Georgetown,” Soll said.

The event will raise money for a relief fund for members of the singing community who are struggling with job loss or health problems.

This concert features soprano Stephanie Mann, a graduate of Brandeis and The Boston Conservatory, who will appear this summer with the Boston Opera Collaborative in Rossini’s “Cinderella.”

Mezzo-soprano Roselin Osser, who has appeared with the Greater New Bedford Choral Society and other regional companies, will also perform.

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