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Biography
Soprano Deborah Voigt is inarguably one of today’s most esteemed interpreters of the dramatic opera roles of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, and also enjoys great acclaim in popular Italian operatic parts such as Tosca, Aida, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, and Leonora in La forza del destino. She is an active recitalist and performer of Broadway standards, has an extensive discography, and has given enthusiastically-received master classes.

After appearances at the Edinburgh Festival and London’s BBC Proms on a late-summer tour with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, Deborah Voigt opens her 2007-08 season – devoted principally to opera – with her role debut as Maddalena in Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, at Barcelona’s historic Gran Teatre del Liceu. The Liceu was the scene of her 2005 role debut as Ponchielli’s La gioconda, a portrayal that Opera magazine called an “unqualified success,” which is now available on DVD.

In a follow-up to her personal and artistic triumph last season as Strauss’s Salome, Ms. Voigt returns to her home town’s Lyric Opera of Chicago to sing the Empress in a new production of Strauss’s Frau ohne Schatten, a role she has made her own internationally. She also gives her first performances as Isolde with her home company, the Metropolitan Opera, this season, in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, conducted by James Levine – her first Isoldes since her headlining portrayals at the Vienna State Opera in 2003. Additionally at the Met she reprises one of her favorite parts, Sieglinde, in Wagner’s Die Walküre, led by Lorin Maazel. Deborah Voigt’s final opera engagement of the 2007-08 season is a long-awaited return in June to London’s Royal Opera House for the title role in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Ms. Voigt also gives solo vocal recitals this season in Atlanta and Storrs, Connecticut, as well as a performance at the Rose Theater in New York as part of Lincoln Center’s popular “American Songbook” series. She sings concerts with the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and with the San Francisco Symphony at its home in Davies Hall and in Carnegie Hall.

Ms. Voigt’s wide-ranging repertoire includes starring roles in Strauss’s Egyptian Helen, Elektra, Rosenkavalier, and Friedenstag; Wagner’s Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Fliegende Holländer; and Berlioz’s Troyens, among others – several of which she has recorded.

In 2005, Deborah Voigt released her second solo CD for EMI Classics, All My Heart (with pianist Brian Zeger), earning wide acclaim. A critic for the Washington Post praised the “discerning eye” behind the adventurous choice of repertoire, “performed by a voice outstanding not only for tone and power but for interpretive subtlety and emotional nuance.”

Ms. Voigt’s first EMI Classics solo CD, Obsessions, presents scenes and arias from operas by Wagner and Strauss. Released in April 2004, the Billboard top-five bestseller earned superlative comments like this one in Gramophone: “The arias highlight Voigt’s extraordinary ability to soar effortlessly and luminously above the orchestra with her trademark rich, lustrous, never hard or brittle voice.” Her recording of Strauss’s Egyptian Helen was also a Billboard bestseller, and named one of the Best CDs of 2003 by Opera News. A live recording of the 2003 Vienna State Opera Tristan und Isolde in which Voigt made her headlining role debut was released by Deutsche Grammophon.

Signal highlights of the 2006-07 season for Ms. Voigt were the fulfillment of her long-held wish to perform the title role in Strauss’s Salome – which she accomplished to enormous acclaim with Lyric Opera of Chicago – and singing the title role in Strauss’s Egyptian Helen in a new production staged for her at the Metropolitan Opera. She participated in the Vienna State Opera celebration of Plácido Domingo’s 40th anniversary with the company. In Vienna she also reprised two other signature Strauss roles – the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and the title part in Ariadne auf Naxos. She sang Schoenberg’s haunting monodrama, Erwartung, with James Levine and the Boston Symphony, and closed her European season with concerts in Munich and Baden-Baden, conducted by Christian Thielemann. Back home in the U.S., she closed the New York Philharmonic’s season singing rare orchestral songs by Richard Strauss, conducted by Lorin Maazel.

A devotee of Broadway and American song, Deborah Voigt has given acclaimed performances of popular fare, including benefit concerts for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and New York Theater Workshop. “Voigt ... comes to pop singing naturally. ... If this were 1970, she would probably be given her own network variety show,” raved Opera News. She sang three concerts with Barbara Cook and Dianne Reeves at the Hollywood Bowl and made an exciting debut in Lincoln Center’s long-running American Songbook series, singing Broadway and popular standards on the topic of travel. Variety reported: “Deborah Voigt, perhaps the foremost dramatic operatic soprano of the day ... [is] profoundly aware that each song has a story to tell, her delivery is expressively honest and her voice lustrous and creamy. ... Voigt crosses the opera-Broadway boundary with grace and elegance, harboring a strength reserved for special moments. She is also in the possession of a devilish sense of humor, which was delightfully used to frame a lyric with a naughty smile.”

Millions of viewers heard Ms. Voigt sing “America the Beautiful” on NBC’s nationwide broadcast of Macy’s Independence Day fireworks show in 2004, and later witnessed her majestic ride down Broadway in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Deborah Voigt studied at California State University at Fullerton. She was a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, and won both the Gold Medal in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition and First Prize at Philadelphia’s Luciano Pavarotti Vocal Competition. Ms. Voigt is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and was Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2003. She received a 2007 Opera News award for distinguished achievement.

This biography was most recently edited by...
maestro - 4 May 2009
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