June 10, 2015
Fresh from the release of her “startlingly frank” (Associated Press) memoir, Call me Debbie, and her title role debut in Michigan Opera Theater’s new Merry Widow, Deborah Voigt looks forward to traveling the world this summer. She treats Pacific Symphony audiences this week to a taste of her famed Brünnhilde, opens both the Festival Del Sole and the Miami Summer Music Festival, and headlines a Metropolitan Opera-themed gala concert with the PKF- Prague Philharmonia. Besides giving masterclasses in California, Florida, Italy, and at the Glimmerglass Festival, she returns to St. Petersburg, Russia, to judge the International Tchaikovsky Competition, where she herself took gold medal in 1990. Finally, the versatile soprano heads to Provincetown, MA, to share music and memories in her confessional one-woman show, Voigt Lessons – a knockout at its recent New York City premiere – with a whole new audience.
From laureate to judge at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition
Voigt eagerly anticipates her return to Russia. “I’m excited about judging this year’s Tchaikovsky Competition,” she explains. “Twenty-five years ago, I took gold medal there myself – it was a major turning point in my career, so now I really feel as though I’ve come full circle!” She serves on this year’s jury alongside such fellow classical luminaries as Lynn Harrell, Mischa Maisky, and Jian Wang (June 23–July 1). All rounds of the competition will be streamed live, free of charge, on a dedicated medici.tv platform that may be previewed here.
The soprano further demonstrates her commitment to the next generation of singers in masterclasses at Italy’s Trentino Music Festival (July 6 & 7), her alma mater, Cal State Fullerton (June 8), the Miami Summer Music Festival (July 12), and New York’s Glimmerglass Festival, where she has long proved a firm favorite (Aug 7).
One-night-only special presentation of Voigt Lessons in Provincetown
Indeed, it was at the 2011 Glimmerglass Festival that Voigt premiered her one-woman show, Voigt Lessons. Developed in close collaboration with award-winning playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello at the famed MacDowell Colony, Voigt Lessons takes the soprano’s life and career as the basis for a revealing and heartwarming script that incorporates 18 songs and arias of especial personal significance to her. These showcase her famed versatility, ranging from music by her early inspiration, Karen Carpenter, to gospel songs, art songs, and opera arias. Voigt shook the rafters at the 92nd Street Y when she debuted Voigt Lessons there in February. As Broadway World put it,
“There was a seismic event and emotional roller coaster onstage. … She is immediately likable and is funny and heartbreaking, all at once. … This show is a thoroughly engaging hybrid of entertainment and an extraordinary opportunity to see a big star in an intimate setting.”
Now the soprano presents her hit show for one night only in Provincetown, MA, where, she says, “I can’t wait to share my one-woman show, Voigt Lessons, with a fabulous new audience.” Directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, with music direction by Kevin Stites, the special presentation will take place at the Art House on August 2.
In concert and recital: festival openings and more
Voigt draws the Pacific Symphony’s 2014-15 season to a close, singing selections from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung under the leadership of Carl St. Clair (June 11–13). The New York Times calls her account of the opera’s final act “blazingly powerful, deeply expressive, and, as always, musically scrupulous”; the Deutsche Grammophon DVD release of the Metropolitan Opera’s full “Ring” cycle, which captures her “badass” Brünnhilde (New York Daily News), won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.
To launch the Miami Summer Music Festival, Voigt joins the festival orchestra under artistic director Michael Rossi for an array of her signature Wagner and Strauss (July 11). By contrast, for the opening night of Napa Valley’s Festival Del Sole, she reunites with pianist Brian Zeger, whom she calls her “favorite partner in crime,” for a program of her best-loved arias and American songbook classics (July 17). The two may be heard discussing the unique demands of the vocal recital, here.
In the Czech Republic, the soprano takes the PKF- Prague Philharmonia audience on “A Visit to the Metropolitan Opera.” Under J. David Jackson’s leadership, she draws on both opera and Broadway in a program of arias and duets with tenor Garrett Sorenson, her co-star in the Met’s Die ägyptische Helena (July 4).
Highlights of 2014-15: Call Me Debbie and The Merry Widow
These summer engagements follow a milestone season for the soprano. Her literary debut – Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva (HarperCollins) – hit bookstores in January, after which she embarked on a successful U.S. book tour. She gave interviews on NBC’s TODAY show and NPR’s Weekend Edition, as well as to such outlets as the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian (UK), and People magazine, all of which carried feature reviews. The Associated Press called Voigt’s memoir “a startlingly frank look at the life of one of her generation’s most prominent operatic stars.” “It’s like your best girlfriend talking to you and telling you her story,” explained Daphne Kalotay in the Boston Globe, while Opera magazine, citing Voigt’s “honesty and humor,” confessed: “This extremely candid volume is hard to put down.”
Voigt also made her title role debut in a new production of Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow at Michigan Opera Theatre. As the Detroit Free Press realized,
“Voigt’s brilliance was undeniable and her Hanna pulsated with possibilities. At the start of the second act, she caressed ‘Vilja, o Vilja,’ a love song of deep longing and folksong contours, with relaxed strength, supple phrasing, sumptuous texture and a natural sweetness that lingered in the air long after the music ended.”
Details of Deborah Voigt’s summer engagements are provided below. To download high-resolution photos, click here.
Deborah Voigt: upcoming engagements
California State University Fullerton
June 11, 12, 13
Santa Ana, CA
Pacific Symphony Orchestra / Carl St. Clair
Wagner: selections from Götterdämmerung
June 23–July 1
St. Petersburg, Russia
Tchaikovsky Competition, Judge
Litomysl, Czech Republic
PKF- Prague Philharmonia / J. David Jackson
Gala concert: “A Visit to the Metropolitan Opera”
July 6 & 7
Trentino Music Festival, Music Academy International
July 11 & 12
Miami Summer Music Festival
MSMF Symphony Orchestra / Michael Rossi
Masterclass July 12
Opening Night at Festival Del Sole
Recital with Brian Zeger, piano
The Art House
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© 21C Media Group, June 2015