Deborah Voigt Addresses University of South Carolina Graduates on Saturday, August 8

Renowned Dramatic Soprano Will Receive Honorary Degree from USC, a Doctorate in Music (D.Mus.)

Esteemed dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt will address the University of South Carolina’s summer commencement exercises for baccalaureate, master’s, and professional degree recipients at 10:30am on Saturday, August 8, in the Columbia S.C. campus’s Colonial Life Arena. On this occasion, Voigt will receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree. While commencement exercises for doctoral candidates will be held separately, an audience of some 8,000 persons from all eight of USC’s campuses will hear Voigt’s speech.

“Deborah Voigt was nominated to receive the University of South Carolina ’s highest honor, the honorary doctoral degree, in October of 2000. Pairing her unrelenting performance schedule with the University’s commencement schedule took nearly a decade to conclude successfully. For that and many other reasons, we are especially pleased and excited about the award of her degree and the wisdom of her comments at the August 8, 2009 commencement exercises.” - Thomas L. Stepp, Secretary of the Board of Trustees

Voigt, who studied voice at California State University-Fullerton and apprenticed in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, has participated in dozens of productions at major opera houses around the world while assuming some of opera’s most challenging roles. She has recorded extensively on several labels, has been a featured performer in a variety of television productions, and has given acclaimed concerts of Broadway tunes and popular American songs. In 2000, she performed works by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner with the USC Symphony Orchestra at the University’s Koger Center . She recently established the Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Foundation’s Protégé Mentoring Program for voice and acting training, to help aspiring performers. She is a strong advocate for music education, visiting elementary schools to introduce music concepts to children and taking part in master classes and other programs for music students. She has also given numerous benefit performances, including concerts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the New York Theatre Workshop.

“I am thrilled to be receiving this honor from the University of South Carolina and to have the opportunity to speak to the graduating students.” - Deborah Voigt

Among Deborah Voigt’s numerous awards are the “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” for her significant contributions to the cultural life of France ; a “Voci Verdiane” award and a shared 1996 Best Opera Recording Award. She was Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2003, and in 2007 she won an Opera News Award for Distinguished Achievement.

Voigt opens the 2009-10 season for Lyric Opera Chicago in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, sings two roles at the Metropolitan Opera, and makes her role debut next spring as Minnie in Puccini’s Girl of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera. In the coming season, she is also due to appear in Barcelona, Munich, and Vienna, as well as in Japan and Switzerland .

The University of South Carolina expects to award 1,000 degrees from the Columbia campus, including three associate’s degrees, 502 baccalaureate degrees, five law degrees, ten graduate certificates, 400 master’s degrees, 19 specialist’s degrees, and 61 doctoral degrees. Also receiving degrees will be the graduates of the university’s regional and four-year campuses: Aiken – 66 baccalaureate and eleven master’s degrees; Beaufort – four associate’s degrees and 35 baccalaureate degrees; Lancaster – ten associate’s degrees; Salkehatchie – ten associate’s degrees; Sumter – seven associate’s degrees; and Upstate – 230 baccalaureate degrees and two master’s degrees.

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