Deborah Voigt In ROSCOE Concert Premiere, WAGNER with Luisi, New Full-Time Position, and 25th Anniversary at the Met
This season marks the silver anniversary of Deborah Voigt's Metropolitan Opera debut, a milestone the Metropolitan Opera Guild looks forward to honoring at its annual luncheon this winter. Over the course of her long and distinguished career, however, the soprano has yet to help create a new opera. That changes this fall, when she stars in the Albany Symphony's orchestral premiere of Roscoe: An American Grand Opera by Evan Mack, who composed it expressly for her voice.
Other highlights of 2016-17 see Voigt - one of the world's most versatile singers and music's most endearing personalities - join Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony for accounts of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder in Copenhagen and on a five-city tour of California; reunite with pianist Brian Zeger for a recital of Beach, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, and Strauss in Toronto; and reprise her confessional one-woman show, Voigt Lessons - a knockout at its New York City premiere - in Colorado.
In addition to hosting a trio of "Met: Live in HD" transmissions to movie theaters around the globe, judging multiple vocal competitions, and undertaking a host of masterclasses, she also launches a new appointment as a full-time member of the voice faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; continues to supervise repertoire, casting, and production choices in her new role as Artistic Advisor to Florida's Vero Beach Opera; and returns to the University of Notre Dame to resume her multi-year position as the school's Artist-in-Residence, crowned by a nationally televised appearance at its upcoming football game against the University of Miami. As the Wall Street Journal put it, "Not only has her majestic voice made her fans love her, but so has the soprano's profound feeling for texts and subtleties of musical style, not to mention her genuine sense of humor."
Concert premiere of Roscoe: An American Grand Opera
Based on Roscoe, a New York Times bestseller by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy, Roscoe: An American Grand Opera is the tale of a man who longs to retire after years as the motor of Albany's midcentury political machine, yet finds himself inescapably pulled back in. For Albany resident Evan Mack, the award-winning composer whose first full-length opera, Angel of the Amazon, was compared by Opera News to the work of Barber, Menotti, and Carlisle Floyd, the story held especial resonance. Furthermore, he recognized its potential as a vehicle for one particular voice. He explains:
"I often thought about the voice of Deborah Voigt when composing my previous operas. When I had the chance to show her the score of my new opera, Roscoe, she wanted to collaborate in giving the opera its orchestral premiere with the Albany Symphony. I am truly honored to work with her."
Voigt welcomed the opportunity. She comments:
"I am thrilled to have been invited to sing the orchestral premiere of Roscoe. I was flattered to learn composer Evan Mack had my voice in mind as he composed previous operas. When he sent me the score of Roscoe I felt certain we would make a good collaboration. This performance will mark the first occasion I've had to be part of a new opera."
Set to a libretto by his regular collaborator, Joshua McGuire, Mack's score will, fittingly, receive its orchestral premiere at the Albany Symphony. Anchored by Voigt's performance in the starring role of Veronica, the concert performance will also feature baritone Jeffrey Williams under the baton of David Alan Miller (Oct 15).
Further performance highlights: Wagner with DNSO, Voigt Lessons, and recitals
One of the great Wagnerians of our time, it was Voigt who portrayed Brünnhilde on Deutsche Grammophon's Blu-ray DVD release of the Metropolitan Opera "Ring" cycle that won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording of 2013. On two of the operas (Siegfried and Götterdämmerung), her conductor was Fabio Luisi, then Principal Conductor at the Met. Next spring she reunites with Luisi, now serving in his inaugural season as Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Together they will perform Wagner's sumptuously romantic song cycle, Wesendonck Lieder, first at the orchestra's Copenhagen home (March 23), and then on a five-city Californian tour that culminates in San Francisco (March 28-April 2).Voigt's memoir - Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva - was published by HarperCollins in 2015, and was hailed by the Associated Press as "a startlingly frank look at the life of one of her generation's most prominent operatic stars"; Opera magazine found the book "hard to put down." This February, Colorado fans can hear her story in person, when the soprano takes her one-woman show to Beaver Creek (Feb 13) and Boulder (Feb 18). Developed in close collaboration withTerrence McNally and Francesca Zambello at the famed MacDowell Colony, Voigt Lessons weaves 18 songs and arias of special personal significance to Voigt 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 New York City 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."
Other upcoming performance highlights include a special "Evening With Deborah Voigt" in Beaver Creek, CO (Feb 15) and a recital of songs by composers from Beach to Bernstein at Toronto's Koerner Hall in company with pianist Brian Zeger, whom Voigt considers her "favorite partner in crime" (Nov 11).
Full-time position at San Francisco Conservatory, advisory role at Vero Beach Opera, & more
While Voigt has taught extensively in masterclasses throughout the country, the new appointment at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music represents her first full-time faculty position. Set to launch this fall, the new role enables her to provide coaching and mentorship to select SFCM vocal students through private lessons and masterclasses. She says:
"While performing on stage will continue to be central to my life, I'm really thrilled to be heading out West to begin this next phase of my career. I'm intrigued by the growth potential I see happening at the Conservatory, and by [SFCM President] David Stull's ideas about shaping young singers into well-rounded artists. That's extremely important for young people who are pursuing careers in the arts at a time when it's more competitive than it was even when I was starting out."
As the new Artistic Advisor to Vero Beach Opera, she offers the company her advice and expertise relating to repertoire, casting, and production. She is also involved in programming; long-term planning; judging international vocal competitions; and conducting special concerts, masterclasses, and performances; besides working with the administrative staff to offer guidance in fundraising for the Deborah Voigt/VBO Foundation, which supports talented young artists committed to a career in opera.Voigt also returns to Indiana's University of Notre Dame to continue her multi-year position as Artist-in-Residence at the school, where she looks forward to teaching voice majors, coaching the student performers for their upcoming production of Mozart'sMagic Flute (Oct 27 & 28), and singing "God Bless America" at the football game between Notre Dame and the University of Miami, which will be broadcast nationally on NBC (Oct 29).
As honoree and host in 25th anniversary season at the Met
On October 17, it will be a full 25 years since Voigt made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the female lead in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, prompting the New York Times to note her "deep, mezzolike darkness [that] brought impressive range of color to Amelia's music." To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Annual Luncheon, "Sterling Silver" is designed to honor the soprano alongside fellow singers Susan Graham and Ben Heppner, both of whom also celebrate silver jubilees at the house this season. Joined by a myriad of Met stars both past and present, the three artists will receive a musical tribute from Diana Damrau and a spoken tribute by Stephanie Blythein the Grand Ballroom of New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (Dec 8).Much beloved as a regular host of the Met's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series "The Met: Live in HD," Voigt returns in her anniversary season to host three more transmissions to cinemas around the world. Besides Tristan und Isolde (Oct 8) and DerRosenkavalier (May 13), by her signature Wagner and Strauss, she presents L'Amour de loin by Kaija Saariaho, which marks the Met's first operatic production by a female composer in more than 100 years (Dec 10).
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