Deborah Voigt’s Two New Brünnhilde Debuts at The Met 9/21

By: Sep. 21, 2011
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Deborah Voigt launches her 2011-12 season on September 21 when she joins the New York Philharmonic in its season-opening gala in a performance to be broadcast live on public television's Live From Lincoln Center. Soon after, she makes much-anticipated role debuts as Brünnhilde in Wagner's Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the final two installments of the Metropolitan Opera's new "Ring" cycle, directed by Robert Lepage. In spring 2012 Voigt will also sing Brünnhilde in performances of three complete Ring cycles at the Met. Among Voigt's other new season highlights are a Broadway concert at Washington National Opera; solo recitals in Mexico City, Fort Worth, TX, and Sydney, Australia; and concerts with the Montreal Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the season, Voigt will make further appearances as both performer and host in the "Met: Live in HD" series, including hosting duties at the Met's gala season-opening performance on September 26, which will be telecast live onto the Lincoln Center Plaza and in Times Square.

Voigt's opening-night program with the New York Philharmonic features a signature aria, "Dich teure Halle," from Wagner's Tannhäuser, Barber's Andromache's Farewell, and the final scene from Richard Strauss's Salome. Voigt's recent performance with the orchestra featured what described as an "absolutely frightening" performance of Schoenberg's Erwartung, noting that she sang "with strength, power, and an honest blatant truth. She could take the most arduous passages, crescendoing from lowest to highest notes with laughable ease. (Grisly laughable ease.) This Erwartung was neither monodrama nor short opera. It was an arousing experience in hysteria and delusions."

Voigt introduced the role of Brünnhilde to her repertoire last season when she took on the title role in Wagner's Die Walküre at the Met. Reviewing for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini wrote, "I have seldom heard the role sung with such rhythmic accuracy and verbal clarity. From the start, with those go-for-broke cries of ‘Hojotoho,' she sang every note honestly. She invested energy, feeling and character in every phrase." In New York Magazine, Justin Davidson noted, "Voigt gives Brünnhilde a steely joy." In addition to her staged Wagner performances this year, Voigt will also sing Brünnhilde's music, the famous "Immolation Scene" from the last act of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, in a winter concert with the Hamburg Symphony.

Voigt continues her much talked about excursions into the world of musical theater in March when she performs an evening of Broadway favorites and other selections from the Great American Songbook at the Washington National Opera. This summer Voigt won praise as Annie Oakley at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, headlining in Irving Berlin's beloved Annie Get Your Gun as well as in Voigt Lessons, a one-woman show developed by Voigt with playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello. Under the headline "Gun It to Glimmerglass!," a reviewer for Theatermania enthused, "Voigt manages to portray Annie's naivete and lack of guile effortlessly, and once Annie wises up, she's got sass and brass to spare. Indeed, it's on the show's uptempo and comic numbers - ‘Anything You Can Do,' ‘I've Got the Sun in the Morning,' and ‘I'm An Indian Too' - where Voigt shines brightest, tearing into the lyrics with abandon (not to mention excellent diction)." Voigt Lessons also received enthusiastic acclaim. The same Theatermania reviewer called it "a highly personal, surprisingly poignant piece - one that, with some expansion, could turn out to be a worthy successor to Elaine Stritch: At Liberty. ... If there's a lesson for all performers to take away from Voigt Lessons, it's that sometimes audiences really love what they didn't know they wanted!" A reviewer for Toronto's Globe and Mail observed:

"Voigt Lessons...presents the soprano at her folksy best. Working with famous playwright Terrence McNally, director Zambello, and pianist Kevin Stites, the singer has created an intimate show that is both poignant and very funny. The script is a chronicle of her ups and downs, including a failed marriage, and battles with weight and alcoholism. She's just ‘Debbie' here, letting it all hang out; and doing so through 18 songs - from pop to opera - that illustrate her life in music. The result is an absolute gem and a theatrical love-in. Voigt wins the audience with her vulnerability, honesty and, most of all, her ability to laugh at herself."

While at Glimmerglass, Voigt also served as the festival's first Artist-in-Residence during its first summer featuring Zambello as its General and Artistic Director.

Deborah Voigt's writing - both in 140 characters (or less) and in considerably longer form - has been acknowledged recently in the media. Known to Twitter fans as a "dramatic soprano and down-to-earth diva," Voigt was named "one of the top 25 cultural tweeters to follow" by the Los Angeles Times. In the spring, Harper Collins announced that Voigt is writing a memoir, which is scheduled for publication in 2013.

Deborah Voigt: 2011-12 season

Sep 21, 2011
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic opening-night gala
Wagner: "Dich, teure Halle" from Tannhäuser
Barber: Andromache's Farewell
Strauss: Intermezzo, dance, and final scene from Salome

Oct 27 & Nov 1, 5
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Wagner: Siegfried (new production; role debut: Brünnhilde)

Jan 27, 31 & Feb 7, 11
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Wagner: Götterdämmerung (new production; role debut: Brünnhilde)

Feb 18, 19
Hamburg Symphony
"Immolation Scene" from Wagner's Götterdämmerung

March 17
Washington, D.C.
Washington National Opera
Broadway Concert

March 20
Fort Worth, TX
Bass Performance Hall
Recital (Van Cliburn Foundation's "Cliburn Concerts")

April 13 & May 7
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Wagner: Die Walküre

April 21 & May 9
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Wagner: Siegfried

May 12
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Wagner: Götterdämmerung

May 22, 23
Montreal, Canada
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Diva Concerts (opera arias by Wagner, Beethoven, and Strauss)

June 7, 8, 9, 10
Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota Orchestra
Strauss: Dance of the Seven Veils and final scene from Strauss's Salome


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