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Deborah Voigt Makes G&S Debut in The Pirates of Penzance in NYC, Launching New MasterVoices/City Center Partnership (Oct 15 & 16)

Deborah Voigt (photo: Heidi Gutman)

Deborah Voigt (photo: Heidi Gutman)

Internationally renowned … for her unique combination of exquisite singing and hilarious comic acting” (Vanity Fair), Deborah Voigt might have been made for Gilbert and Sullivan. Yet her starring role in The Pirates of Penzance at New York’s City Center next month marks the Grammy Award-winner’s first foray into the world of Savoy opera. In two performances on October 15 and 16, she joins MasterVoices (formerly the Collegiate Chorale) and its Tony Award-winning artistic director Ted Sperling – her frequent collaborator – as Ruth in a semi-staged production of the Victorian comic classic that launches a new partnership between the choir and venue.

Voigt confides:

“I’m thrilled to be a part of opening this exciting season with Ted Sperling and MasterVoices at City Center. This will be my first excursion into the music of Gilbert and Sullivan, not to mention my first time singing with pirates (although of course there IS The Flying Dutchman…)! And it’s always a lot of fun to sing a role with some humor to it.”

The soprano anchors a strong cast in Pirates that also features Hunter Parrish, familiar from TV’s Weeds and Broadway’s Godspell; Phillip Boykin, who scored a Tony nomination for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; England’s Douglas Hodge, winner of a Tony for La Cage aux Folles; Julia Udine, who recently made her Broadway debut as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera; Montego Glover, winner of Outer Critics’ Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Broadway’s Memphis; and Betsy Wolfe, whose credits encompass both Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera.

Voigt triumphed when she made her title role debut in another operetta last season, headlining a new production of The Merry Widow at Michigan Opera Theatre. As the Detroit Free Press reported,

“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.”

Click here for more information about The Pirates of Penzance.

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Voigt also looks forward to the HarperCollins publication of Call Me Debbie – True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva in paperback this January. The Boston Globe described the memoir as something “like your best girlfriend talking to you and telling you her story,” while Opera magazine praised Voigt’s “honesty and humor,” confessing: “This extremely candid volume is hard to put down.” The soprano’s one-woman show returns too, at Palm Beach’s Society of the Four Arts (Feb 3) and other venues. Developed in close collaboration with Terrence McNally and Francesca Zambello at the famed MacDowell Colony, Voigt Lessons weaves 18 songs and arias of special personal significance to the soprano into a vivid and often moving account of her life and career. Directed by Richard Jay-Alexander with music direction by Kevin Stites, the work proved “a seismic event” at its NYC premiere, when Broadway World explained:

“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.”

Besides giving a masterclass and book signing at Boston University (Sep 28 & 29) and a “Musical Chairs” interview for the Metropolitan Opera Guild (Oct 5), Voigt returns by popular demand for a new season of the Met’s celebrated “Live in HD” series, in which she hosts transmissions of Berg’s Lulu (Nov 21) and Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux (April 16) to cinemas around the world. Following her special guest appearance in Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as seen on PBS-TV last season, the beloved musical personality also looks forward to joining the San Francisco Girls’ Chorus for An American Christmas celebration this holiday season (Dec 7). Click here to see Voigt’s rendition of “The Twelve Days After Christmas” with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Finally, this spring the soprano heads back to her alma mater, California’s Chapman University, to perform alongside Plácido Domingo at the grand opening of its new Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Center for the Arts (March 19). In honor of the singers’ accomplishments, the Musco Center’s grand curtain and star dressing room will be named the “Plácido Domingo Grand Curtain” and the “Deborah Voigt Dressing Room.”

High-resolution photos may be downloaded here.

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© 21C Media Group, September 2015

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