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Deborah Voigt’s Isolde conquers Chicago

Deborah Voigt Conquers Chicago:
Her First Hometown Performance in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde Is a “Triumph”, “Truly Remarkable”, “Incandescent”

“Whether unleashing her full, radiant dramatic soprano or scaling it to a shimmering hush, Voigt went from defiant mail-order bride to liberated woman to transfigured lover with complete vocal security and keen dramatic involvement.” – Chicago Tribune

Soprano Deborah Voigt, one of the world’s most acclaimed singers in operas by Wagner and Strauss, has just conquered her hometown of Chicago with her first local performance of a signature role: Isolde in Wagner’s arch-romantic Tristan und Isolde, at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“Lyric Opera’s ‘Tristan’ a Triumph for the Shining Isolde of Deborah Voigt,” trumpets the Chicago Tribune headline. Veteran critic John von Rhein continues his review by naming her “today’s Isolde of choice … One of a select band of singers capable of meeting the rigorous vocal demands Richard Wagner made”.

The Sun-Times’s Wynne Delacoma was equally enthusiastic, opening her review:

“There are reasons they call it grand opera. And some of the best were on display…when Lyric Opera of Chicago opened its mesmerizing production of Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde.’

Primary among them was Deborah Voigt, whose combination of golden-toned, full-bodied singing and luminous beauty has made her the opera world’s Isolde of choice. … [Clifton] Forbis was a worthy match for Voigt’s incandescent Isolde.” …

She has absorbed the role into her very bones. Vocally, she was superb, her gleaming soprano expressive and big, unforced and capable of easily sailing over the orchestra even at its most frenzied moments.”

Chicago’s Daily Herald also delivered a rave for the hometown Isolde: “Voigt climaxes the evening with an achingly beautiful performance of the familiar Liebestod,” reads the headline. The article continues: “Lyric Opera of Chicago raised the curtain on a truly memorable ‘Tristan und Isolde,’ with a dynamic cast headed by … Deborah Voigt, one of the world’s most renowned dramatic sopranos.”

On her way to Chicago for her Lyric Opera performances, Deborah Voigt stopped off in Minnesota for a concert that also earned raves. Rob Hubbard wrote in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

“Inside one of the opera world’s great dramatic sopranos is a Broadway belter longing to bust loose. … It was [Deborah] Voigt’s versatility that left the strongest impression. Here’s an artist who cannot only pour a disarming amount of emotion into the music of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Strauss but also make you wonder if she wouldn’t have been an ideal musical theater star of the ‘30s through ‘50s. Her casual charisma clearly endeared her to the capacity crowd, and her magnificent voice sealed the deal on their devotion.”

The versatile Ms. Voigt – who does adore singing Broadway and the American Songbook – sang her first performances of Tristan und Isolde in a production mounted for her by the venerable Vienna State Opera in 2003, when the capital of Austria lay at her feet as the Windy City does now. Last season at the Metropolitan Opera she triumphed over the adversity of having to sing opposite several different tenors, some unrehearsed, and delivered a final performance with Ben Heppner for the record-books.

Under the circumstances, Lyric Opera’s 2009 Tristan und Isolde is also likely be remembered for a long time. Voigt and Forbis, as Isolde and Tristan, are scheduled to continue distracting Chicagoland from local political histrionics for several more performances at Lyric Opera up to the end of February.

Deborah Voigt sings Isolde
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Chicago, IL
Lyric Opera of Chicago / Davis
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Jan 31; Feb 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, & 28

Glenn Petry
21C Media Group
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New York, NY 10019
(212) 625-2038

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