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. Having made her name as a leading dramatic soprano, she is internationally revered for her performances in the operas of Wagner, Strauss, and more, and is also an active recitalist and performer of Broadway standards and popular songs. Besides boasting an extensive discography, she appears regularly as both performer and host in the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, which is transmitted live to movie theaters around the world.
In fall 2016, Voigt launches a new appointment as a full-time member of the voice faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she will offer coaching and mentorship through private lessons and masterclasses. Similarly, as the new Artistic Advisor to Florida’s Vero Beach Opera, she will continue to advise on repertoire, casting, and production, besides judging the Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Foundation’s second annual International Vocal Competition. The coming season sees her join Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony for accounts of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder in Copenhagen and on a five-city tour of California, and reunite with pianist Brian Zeger for a recital of Beach, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, and Strauss at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Her one-woman show returns in 2016-17 too, with a performance in Colorado. Developed in close collaboration with playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello at the famed MacDowell Colony, and directed by Richard Jay-Alexander with music direction by Kevin Stites, Voigt Lessons weaves 18 songs and arias of special personal significance to Voigt into a vivid narration of the story of her life and career; since premiering at the Glimmerglass Festival, it has been performed in Boston, Provincetown, and New York City.
In 2015 one of the soprano’s most personal projects came to fruition, with HarperCollins’s publication of Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva. This “startlingly frank” (Associated Press) and “hard to put down” (Opera) memoir, which Voigt discussed at book signings around the country and in interviews with the Today show, PBS NewsHour and People magazine, was released in paperback in January 2016. Other highlights of recent seasons include her role debut as Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck at the Met, opposite Thomas Hampson under James Levine’s leadership, and her star turn in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, with Ted Sperling and New York City’s MasterVoices (formerly the Collegiate Chorale). She gave recitals in cities across the U.S., including Boston, Miami, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Palm Desert, Stanford, and Sonoma, and in concert she collaborated with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra. In a pair of special guest appearances, she duetted with singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright at London’s BBC Proms, and joined Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth for a medley of music and comedy at Carnegie Hall. She also served as WQXR’s inaugural Susan W. Rose Artist-in-Residence and Washington National Opera’s Artist-in-Residence, and hosted the San Francisco benefit concert for Sing With Haiti, to aid the rebuilding of Haiti’s Holy Trinity Music School, destroyed in the earthquake of 2010.
Throughout her career, Voigt has given definitive performances of iconic roles in German opera, from Richard Strauss’s Ariadne, Salome, Kaiserin (Die Frau ohne Schatten) and Chrysothemis (Elektra) to Wagner’s Sieglinde (Die Walküre), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), and Isolde. She is also noted for starring roles in Strauss’s Egyptian Helen, Der Rosenkavalier, and Friedenstag; Wagner’s Lohengrin; and Berlioz’s Les Troyens; and her portrayals of such popular Italian roles as Tosca, Aida, Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Leonora (La forza del destino), La Gioconda, and Minnie (La fanciulla del West).
Voigt’s extensive discography includes two popular and critically successful solo recordings for EMI Classics: All My Heart: Deborah Voigt Sings American Songs with pianist Brian Zeger, named one of the “Best of the Year” by Opera News magazine, and the Billboard top-five bestseller Obsessions, which presents scenes and arias from operas by Wagner and Strauss. Her recording of Strauss’s Egyptian Helen was another Billboard bestseller and was again named one of the best of the year by Opera News. Deutsche Grammophon released a live recording of Voigt’s headlining role debut in the 2003 Vienna State Opera Tristan und Isolde, as well as a Blu-ray DVD set of her starring role as Brünnhilde in Robert Lepage’s visionary Ring cycle at the Met, which won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording of 2013.
A devotee of Broadway and American song, Voigt has given acclaimed performances of popular fare, including benefit concerts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and New York Theatre Workshop. She has sung 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. In the summer of 2011 Voigt won praise as Annie Oakley at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, headlining both Irving Berlin’s beloved Annie Get Your Gun and her own Voigt Lessons. 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.
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 International Tchaikovsky Competition and First Prize at Philadelphia’s Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. A Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she was Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year 2003, won a 2007 Opera News Award for distinguished achievement, and has received Honorary Doctorates from Smith College (2015) and the University of South Carolina (2009). 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.