Press Room

Voigt addresses S. Carolina grads and gets honorary doctorate

Esteemed dramatic soprano Deborah
will address the University
of South Carolina
’s summer
commencement exercises for baccalaureate, master’s, and professional degree
recipients at 10:30am on Saturday, August 8, in the Columbia S.C. campus’s
Colonial Life Arena.  On this
occasion, Voigt will receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree.  While
commencement exercises for doctoral candidates will be held separately, an
audience of some 8,000 persons from all eight of USC’s campuses will hear
Voigt’s speech. 

Thomas L. Stepp, Secretary
of the Board of Trustees commented: “Deborah Voigt was nominated to receive the
University of South Carolina’s highest honor, the honorary doctoral degree, in
October of 2000.  Pairing her
unrelenting performance schedule with the University’s commencement schedule
took nearly a decade to conclude successfully.  For that and many other reasons, we are especially pleased
and excited about the award of her degree and the wisdom of her comments at the
August 8, 2009 commencement exercises.”

Deborah Voigt commented: “I
am thrilled to be receiving this honor from the University of South Carolina
and to have the opportunity to speak to the graduating students.”

Voigt, who studied voice at
California State University-Fullerton and apprenticed in the San Francisco
Opera’s Merola Program, has participated in dozens of productions at major
opera houses around the world while assuming some of opera’s most challenging
roles.  She has recorded
extensively on several labels, has been a featured performer in a variety of
television productions, and has given acclaimed concerts of Broadway tunes and
popular American songs.  In 2000,
she performed works by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner with the USC Symphony
Orchestra at the University’s Koger Center.  She recently established the Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera
Foundation’s Protégé Mentoring Program for voice and acting training, to help
aspiring performers.  She is a
strong advocate for music education, visiting elementary schools to introduce
music concepts to children and taking part in master classes and other programs
for music students.  She has also
given numerous benefit performances, including concerts for Broadway
Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the New York Theatre Workshop.

Among Deborah Voigt’s
numerous awards are the “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” for
her significant contributions to the cultural life of France; a“Voci Verdiane” award and a shared 1996 Best Opera
Recording Award.  She was Musical
’s Vocalist of the Year 2003,
and in 2007 she won an Opera News Award for Distinguished Achievement. 

Voigt opens the 2009-10
season for Lyric Opera Chicago in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, sings two roles at the Metropolitan Opera, and
makes her role debut next spring as Minnie in Puccini’s Girl of the Golden
at San Francisco Opera.  In the coming season, she is also due
to appear in Barcelona, Munich, and Vienna, as well as in Japan and

The University of South
Carolina expects to award 1,000 degrees from the Columbia campus, including
three associate’s degrees, 502 baccalaureate degrees, five law degrees, ten
graduate certificates, 400 master’s degrees, 19 specialist’s degrees, and 61
doctoral degrees.  Also receiving
degrees will be the graduates of the university’s regional and four-year
campuses: Aiken – 66 baccalaureate and eleven master’s degrees; Beaufort – four
associate’s degrees and 35 baccalaureate degrees; Lancaster – ten associate’s
degrees; Salkehatchie – ten associate’s degrees; Sumter – seven associate’s
degrees; and Upstate – 230 baccalaureate degrees and two master’s degrees. 

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 © 21C
Media Group, Inc., August 2009

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