Voigt withdraws from Lyric Opera’s “Ariadne”

Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:01 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Deborah Voigt

Deborah Voigt has withdrawn from the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s fall production of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

In a statement released by the company, Voigt cited a decision to “remove the role of Ariadne from her repertoire for the time being” in order to concentrate on more dramatic roles, notably her debut as Brünnhilde in the Metropolitan Opera’s productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. “I am very grateful for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s understanding in this matter,” Voigt said in a statement released by the Lyric.

The American soprano has experienced mixed reviews in recent seasons due to a marked decrease in her vocal agility and power. Locally, these include her Ravinia concert of Strauss and Wagner earlier this month as well as her well-characterized but patchily sung Minnie in the Lyric’s Girl of the Golden West last season.

Amber Wagner will replace Voigt in the roles of the Prima Donna and Ariadne in the Lyric’s Strauss production. The former Ryan Opera Center alumna drew strong notices in her Ariadne role debut last April with the Canadian Opera Company. The Toronto Sun lauded her “touching, vocally thrilling performance” and the Toronto Globe and Mail cited her “rich dramatic soprano [and] expressive line.”

“Deborah Voigt has a wonderful history with our company and we understand her decision,” said Lyric general director William Mason in the release. “Fortunately, the extraordinary Amber Wagner, who recently triumphed as Ariadne with the Canadian Opera Company under Sir Andrew Davis, will be able to take over the role for all our performances, which Sir Andrew will conduct. Amber, who is a Ryan Opera Center alumna, is rapidly establishing herself as one of today’s greatest hopes among sopranos singing the Verdi, Wagner, and Strauss repertoires.”

The Lyric Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos opens Nov. 19. lyricopera.org; 312-332-2244

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One Response to “Voigt withdraws from Lyric Opera’s “Ariadne””

  1. Posted Jul 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm by Bonnie T.

    Why is it, when most singers withdraw from productions with significant notice, critics rarely take the opportunity to take a smack at them? But, Deborah Voigt is a different story.

    Or, even more, why is it when certain singers withdraw with barely any notice, they aren’t criticized?

    How many performances has Netrebko cancelled lately? Including a major benefit in CO that caused the loss of half a million dollars to the symphony? And a Met performance for which she was “sick” and yet appeared the same day on tv out at the theater in Vienna? And yet…..

    The Ariadne performances came smack in the middle of the Met Ring performances. I’m not surprised she cancelled; in fact, if she hadn’t, critics would have criticized her for not focusing on the Ring. I guarantee it.

    The fact is, at this point, Voigt isn’t going to win with the critics no matter what she does. Luckily audiences continue to love her.

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