Deborah Voigt Sings Excerpts From Wagner and Strauss
Roles She’s Not Yet Sung in New York
This month, soprano Deborah Voigt will introduce tempting passages from two iconic roles she has yet to sing in New York . At the gala celebration of the Metropolitan Opera’s 125th anniversary on March 15, Voigt is one of a handful of artists to have the honor of singing two excerpts during the evening. She has performed the role of Richard Strauss’s Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier in Europe , but has not yet presented it at home. And she has already thrilled a Tanglewood audience with her Brünnhilde – at least the heroine’s final “immolation” scene from Götterdämmerung. (The New York Times reported: “To no one’s surprise, she already sounded glorious as Brünnhilde.”) At the Met on March 15 she will sing the final scene of Wagner’s Siegfried (with Ben Heppner) and of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (the famous trio, with Natalie Dessay and Susanne Mentzer). James Levine conducts the two-part gala that boasts a host of stars as well as the Met’s chorus and orchestra.
Deborah Voigt’s Wagner roles at the Met have included, most recently, Isolde. New York magazine selected her performance opposite Ben Heppner as one of the classical music highlights of 2008: “Cold-and-flu season kept Ben Heppner as Tristan and Deborah Voigt as Isolde from singing together until the last performance in the Met’s run. But when the sneezing stopped, that night proved worth the wait. Both singers breathed and phrased in such miraculous sympathy that it almost seemed as if they had prepped together for a joint comeback.” Voigt has just finished a run of Isoldes at Chicago’s Lyric Opera that was no less successful, with Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein calling it “a triumph” and describing Voigt as “today’s Isolde of choice”.
Deborah Voigt added the role of the Rosenkavalier’s Marschallin to her extensive list of Strauss heroines in 2005 in Berlin under Christian Thielemann (who also conducted her debut Isolde in Vienna in 2003). Germany’s influential Welt am Sonntag wrote of the Strauss: “Voigt’s flowing phrasing, her intelligent shaping of character and her precise diction are rare – a psychological character study of a wise aging woman.” And Musical America’s Berlin correspondent reported that Voigt “sang with the same radiant voice that has won her worshipful fans throughout the operatic world; and – no doubt about it – she conquered.” When Ms. Voigt sang her first Vienna Marschallin in 2005, the Vienna Standard’s critic enthused, “Deborah Voigt’s Marschallin puts everyone else in the shade. She stops time by bringing this artificial creature to life in a captivating and natural way, and manages to avoid any sticky sentimentality with her virtuosic performance.”
The Met’s 125th-anniversary gala should be a thrill for opera lovers all over the world – not least because of the opportunity to hear the soprano “widely acknowledged as the greatest living interpreter of the dramatic heroines of Wagner and Richard Strauss.” (Musical America)