Deborah Voigt continues the journey of her first complete cycle of Wagner’s monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen with her role debut this week as Brünnhilde in Siegfried. The three fall performances (Oct 27, Nov 1, Nov 5) of this, the third opera in the Ring tetralogy, precede Voigt’s second Brünnhilde debut of the season, when the soprano portrays the character in Götterdämmerung (Jan 27 – Feb 11), the climactic conclusion to Wagner’s incomparable epic. The four Ring operas return to the Met in April for three complete cycles (April 7 – May 12), with Voigt’s Brünnhilde taking center stage in a cast of today’s most acclaimed Wagnerians, including Bryn Terfel as Wotan. The Met’s new productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung – directed, like their predecessors, by Robert Lepage – will also be transmitted to movie theaters worldwide as part of the Met’s popular Live in HD series on November 5 and February 11, respectively.
Voigt recorded Brünnhilde’s music in Siegfried on an album of Wagner duets with tenor Plácido Domingo that was released in 2000 by EMI Classics. Peter Branscombe sets the scene in his notes for the album:
“The closing scene of Siegfried, the third part of Der Ring des Nibelungen, is one of Wagner’s most ecstatic and beautiful love scenes. At the end of the previous music drama [Die Walküre] Wotan’s favorite daughter Brünnhilde has been sentenced to sleep, surrounded by magic fire, until a hero who has never known fear shall come and awaken her to human love.”
Voigt introduced the role of Brünnhilde to her repertoire last season when she took on the title role in Wagner’s Die Walküre at the Met. Reviewing for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini wrote, “I have seldom heard the role sung with such rhythmic accuracy and verbal clarity. From the start, with those go-for-broke cries of ‘Hojotoho,’ she sang every note honestly. She invested energy, feeling and character in every phrase.” In New York magazine, Justin Davidson noted, “Voigt gives Brünnhilde a steely joy.” In addition to her staged Wagner performances this year, Voigt will also sing Brünnhilde’s music, the famous “Immolation Scene” from the last act of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, in a winter concert with the Hamburg Symphony.