NYC Opera's Spring Gala in Central Park to Feature Deborah Voigt, 5/16


New York City Opera celebrates the company's 2011-12 season with New York's civic leaders on Wednesday, May 16, with its Spring Gala: An Evening with Deborah Voigt. The event will take place at the historic Loeb Central Park Boathouse in Manhattan and feature cocktails and gondola rides on the lake, as well as a formal dinner and dancing to the Jazz Age sounds of the Grammy Award-winning Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks.

The spring gala will celebrate the revitalization of NYC Opera, and will support the company's mission: to create innovative productions of new and classic work, to reach a wide audience with affordable ticket prices, and to bring music into the lives of thousands of students each year through education programs in New York City's public schools. George Steel, NYC Opera's General Manager and Artistic Director, says:

"For this year's spring gala, we've created a classic New York night in the heart of the city: Central Park in the full, magnificent bloom of spring as the backdrop for sunset cocktails, a fabulous meal, and even gondola rides on the lake. We're thrilled to have as the star of the event Deborah Voigt – one of today's greatest American voices, and an exemplary advocate for the arts. It will be the perfect way for the company to celebrate a groundbreaking season, and the city's best and brightest have already stepped forward to support NYC Opera on this sensational evening."

The centerpiece of the evening will be a private concert by Deborah Voigt. Hailed as one of opera's top dramatic sopranos – excelling in Wagner, Strauss, Verdi and Puccini – Voigt is also renowned as a performer of Broadway tunes, jazz standards and popular songs. Accompanying Voigt at the piano will be Tony Award-winning theater artist and NYC Opera Artist Council member Ted Sperling. Voigt says: "Whether you sing or listen to opera in this great city, we all benefit by the wonderful work that New York City Opera has done throughout the years for this art form we all love. NYC Opera is truly a New York institution, and I'm very excited to sing at its spring gala, which this year takes place at one of my favorite – and certainly one of the most romantic – places in the city: the Central Park Boathouse. It's going to be a wonderful night."

New York City Opera's Spring Gala: An Evening with Deborah Voigt

When: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 – 6:30pm: cocktails; 7:30pm: dinner and performance; 9:30pm: dancing. 


Where: Loeb Central Park Boathouse in Central Park, entrance at 72nd St & Fifth Ave


Performance: Soprano Deborah Voigt and pianist Ted Sperling


Beneficiary: New York City Opera

Table and ticket levels: Leadership tables: $100,000; Platinum tables $75,000; Gold tables: $50,000; Silver tables: $25,000; Bronze tables $12,500; and Young Patron tables: $5,000; tickets: $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,250 (limited availability)


Gala leadership: Caroline and Paul Cronson, Michael and Mary Gellert, Julia and David H. Koch, Mark and Lorry Newhouse, Susan and Elihu Rose, Annaliese Soros, Alice and Tom Tisch, Charles R. Wall


Attire: Cocktail attire


Gala sponsors: American Airlines, Bellavista, Cesari fine wines of Verona


To purchase tickets or for more information: Call the New York City Opera Special Events office at 646-758-9469. 

About New York City Opera

New York City Opera continues its mission to make opera available to a modern, wide-reaching audience. For more than 60 years, the company has stayed true to its original promise: introducing generation after generation of young singers who are stars in the making, bringing the public exciting new works and compelling, fresh interpretations of classics, acting as a champion for American composers and performers, and ensuring that opera can be a part of every New Yorker's life.

The company is building tomorrow's audiences through its work in arts education. NYC Opera Education students meet with NYC Opera Teaching Artists and other theater professionals in their classrooms, go behind the scenes to see how productions come together, and watch world-class performances on NYC Opera's stage. In 2011-12, NYC Opera Education has served nearly 3,000 students in 19 New York City schools, as well as in Westchester, New Jersey, and Long Island.

The 2011-12 season

During the 2011-2012 season, New York City Opera embarked on a new era, presenting four operas in venues throughout New York City, and creating a living presence in Brooklyn, the Upper West Side, Harlem, and – with the Spring Gala – Central Park. These world-class venues are curated specially for the productions they house, giving audiences and performers a compelling new way to experience live opera, and bringing the art form directly into the neighborhoods New York City Opera serves. 

Deborah Voigt is one of the world's leading dramatic sopranos, internationally revered for her performances in the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. She is also noted for her portrayals of such popular Italian operatic parts as Tosca, Aida, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera and Leonora in La forza del destino. An active recitalist and performer of Broadway standards, Voigt has an extensive discography, and she has given many enthusiastically received master classes. She is known for the singular power and beauty of her voice, as well as for her winning personality and stage presence.

Voigt's 2011-12 season began with a gala performance for the New York Philharmonic broadcast on public television's Live From Lincoln Center series. Soon after, she made much-anticipated role debuts as Brünnhilde in Wagner's Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the final two installments of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. In April and May, Voigt will sing Brünnhilde in performances of three complete Ring Cycles at the Met. Among other highlights for Voigt are a Broadway concert at Washington National Opera; solo recitals in Mexico City 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 ever-popular Met Live in HD series. Other recent highlights for Voigt include her company debut with the Washington National Opera as Richard Strauss's Salome, as well as her role debut as Minnie in Puccini's La fanciulla del West at three opera houses over a nine-month period: San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera. Last summer she won praise as Annie Oakley at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, headlining in Irving Berlin's beloved Annie Get Your Gun; she also starred in Voigt Lessons, a one-woman show developed by Voigt with playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello.

Voigt has received accolades for such Italian roles as Amelia, Aida, Lady Macbeth, Tosca and Leonora, as well as Cassandre in Berlioz's Les Troyens. Her discography of complete operas includes Tristan und Isolde, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Les Troyens. Her solo discs for EMI Classics are All My Heart (songs by American composers) and the best-selling Obsessions, with arias and scenes by Wagner and Strauss. A devotee of Broadway and American song, Voigt gives acclaimed performances of popular fare, including benefit concerts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and New York Theatre Workshop. In 2004, she sang "America the Beautiful" on NBC's broadcast of Macy's Independence Day fireworks show and took part in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. She has also been profiled in many national media outlets, such as CBS's 60 Minutes, Good Morning America and Vanity Fair.

Voigt's awards and honors include first prizes in Moscow's Tchaikovsky Competition and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, as well as France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She was Musical America's Vocalist of the Year in 2003, won a 2007 Opera News Award for distinguished achievement, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Carolina in 2009. Known to Twitter fans as a "dramatic soprano and down-to-earth diva," Voigt was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the top 25 cultural tweeters to follow. She is writing a memoir scheduled for publication by HarperCollins in 2013.

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