Deborah Voigt is increasingly recognized as one of the world’s most versatile singers and one of music’s most endearing personalities. Through her performances and television appearances, she is known for the singular power and beauty of her voice, as well as for her captivating stage presence. A leading dramatic soprano, internationally revered for her performances in the operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, she has also portrayed some of the great heroines in Italian opera to great acclaim. An active recitalist and performer of Broadway standards and popular songs, Voigt has an extensive discography and has given many enthusiastically received master classes. She also appears regularly, as both performer and host, in the Metropolitan Opera’s “The Met: Live in HD” series, which is transmitted live to movie theaters across the U.S. and overseas.
Deborah Voigt makes her first appearances of the 2012-13 season on television, when she hosts a special five-night presentation of Wagner’s complete “Ring” cycle on the PBS series Great Performances from the Met. Robert Lepage’s visionary new production, which stars Voigt as Brünnhilde, is also being released as a Blu-ray DVD-set and will be revived at the Metropolitan Opera in the spring, when Voigt reprises the role that she made “exciting and expressive” (New York Times) with a voice that “blazed with passion” (New York Daily News). The new season also sees her hosting multiple transmissions – including the season-opening event – in the Met’s popular “Live in HD” series, while upcoming performance highlights include starring as Cassandre in Francesca Zambello’s revival of Berlioz’s Les Troyens at the Met; reprising her hit portrayal of Minnie in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West at Belgium’s Liege Opera and singing Wagner and Strauss with Florida’s Orlando Philharmonic.
Voigt’s 2011-12 season began with a season-opening gala performance for the New York Philharmonic, broadcast on public television’s Live From Lincoln Center series, followed by her much-anticipated role debuts as Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the final two installments of Lepage’s new “Ring” cycle at the Met. Other season highlights included a solo recital in Mexico City and concerts with the Montreal Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. Throughout the season, Voigt appeared as both performer and host in the “The Met: Live in HD” series.
Highlights of her wide-ranging 2010-11 season included her company debut with the Washington National Opera as Richard Strauss’s Salome (in a production by Francesca Zambello) and her role debut as Minnie in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West at three different American opera houses over a nine-month period: San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera, where her performances marked the 100th anniversary of the opera’s premiere in 1910. She also starred in the Met’s widely discussed new production of Wagner’s Die Walküre, marking her role debut as Brünnhilde. In the summer of 2011 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 Francesca Zambello. Voigt also served as the festival’s first Artist-in-Residence during its first summer featuring Zambello as its General and Artistic Director.
Through her career, Voigt has given definitive performances of iconic roles in German opera, from Richard Strauss’s Ariadne, Salome, Kaiserin (in Frau ohne Schatten) and Chrysothemis (in Elektra) to Wagner’s Sieglinde (in Die Walküre), Elizabeth (in Tannhäuser) and Isolde. She is also noted for her portrayals of such popular Italian operatic roles as Tosca, Aida, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Leonora in La forza del destino, and La Gioconda. Voigt’s wide-ranging repertoire also includes starring roles in Strauss’s Egyptian Helen, Der Rosenkavalier, and Friedenstag; Wagner’s Lohengrin; and Berlioz’s Les Troyens.
Voigt’s extensive discography includes two popular solo recordings for EMI Classics – both of which were critical successes. The Washington Post praised the “discerning eye” behind the adventurous choice of repertoire for All My Heart with pianist Brian Zeger and noted that it was “performed by a voice outstanding not only for tone and power but for interpretive subtlety and emotional nuance.” Voigt’s earlier disc, Obsessions, presents scenes and arias from operas by Wagner and Strauss. Gramophone’s review of the Billboard top-five bestseller states, “The arias highlight Voigt’s extraordinary ability to soar effortlessly and luminously above the orchestra with her trademark rich, lustrous, never hard or brittle voice.” Her recording of Strauss’s Egyptian Helen was also a Billboard bestseller and was named one of the best CDs of the year by Opera News. A live recording of the 2003 Vienna State Opera Tristan und Isolde, in which Voigt made her headlining role debut, was released by Deutsche Grammophon.
A devotee of Broadway and American song, Deborah Voigt has given acclaimed performances of popular fare, including benefit concerts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and New York Theatre Workshop. “Voigt ... comes to pop-singing naturally. ... If this were 1970, she would probably be given her own network variety show,” raved Opera News. She has sung concerts with Barbara Cook and Dianne Reeves at the Hollywood Bowl, and given performances in Lincoln Center’s long-running “American Songbook” series, singing Broadway and popular standards. Variety reported: “Deborah Voigt, perhaps the foremost dramatic operatic soprano of the day ... [is] profoundly aware that each song has a story to tell; her delivery is expressively honest and her voice lustrous and creamy. ... Voigt crosses the opera-Broadway boundary with grace and elegance, harboring a strength reserved for special moments. She is also in the possession of a devilish sense of humor, which was delightfully used to frame a lyric with a naughty smile.” Millions of viewers heard Voigt sing “America the Beautiful” on NBC’s nationwide broadcast of Macy’s Independence Day fireworks show in 2004, and later that year they witnessed her majestic ride down Broadway in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. She has also been profiled by many important national media outlets, such as CBS’s 60 Minutes, Good Morning America and Vanity Fair.
Deborah Voigt studied at California State University at Fullerton. She was a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and won both the Gold Medal in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition and First Prize at Philadelphia’s Luciano Pavarotti Vocal Competition. Voigt is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2003. In 2007 she won an Opera News Award for distinguished achievement, and in 2009 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. 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 currently writing a memoir that is scheduled for publication by Harper Collins in 2013.