Deborah Voigt Tames Wild West in San Francisco Opera’s Fanciulla!

“Winning” Minnie Portrayal Is Hit as Soprano Adds Important New Role to Repertoire, Impressing Critics with “Radiant Voice,” “Theatrical Vibrancy,” and “Sensitivity to Detail”

“Voigt, singing Minnie for the first time, brought theatrical vibrancy and considerable personal charm to the role – it was no stretch to imagine an entire troop of miners eating out of her hand.” – San Francisco Chronicle [Joshua Kosman]

On June 9, Deborah Voigt, America’s top dramatic soprano, marked another milestone in her career when she returned to San Francisco Opera and made her title role debut as the pistol-packing, poker-playing barmaid in Puccini’s Gold Rush extravaganza, La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West). Running through July 2, the new San Francisco production is the first North American staging to celebrate the opera’s centenary.

The Associated Press summarized the impact of Deborah Voigt’s role debut, with Mike Silverman enthusing: “Both vocally and dramatically, the role is almost ideally suited to Voigt’s strengths – large, gleaming high notes (most of which hit their mark squarely), and a stage presence that radiates an endearing charm, whether she’s teaching Bible class to the miners, cheating in a poker game against Sheriff Jack Rance or riding in on a white horse to save her man.”

Voigt will give additional high-profile performances as Minnie in the upcoming season, starring in the Metropolitan Opera’s centenary production (Dec 6 – Jan 8). La fanciulla del West was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, and premiered there on December 10, 1910. Following her Met performances, Voigt will sing the same role at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, beginning January 22 (nine performances through Feb 21). Her other summer 2010 performances are both as Richard Strauss’s Salome: at the Verbier Festival with Valery Gergiev (Aug 1) and at Japan’s Saito Kinen Festival (Aug 22, 25, 28, & 30).

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