If you’d seen Deborah Voigt perform when she was a student at Placentia’s El Dorado High School in the late ’70s, shining in major roles in “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Music Man” and “Mame,” you would have predicted a successful career on Broadway for the multitalented young woman.
But Voigt’s gifts took her in another direction.
“I think the turning point was that my voice began to dictate what it wanted to sing,” said Voigt, a soprano who began concentrating on operatic roles while she was a music major at Cal State Fullerton. “I didn’t grow up listening to opera, but I loved communicating through song. My voice was well suited to opera in terms of color, and I was always drawn to the performing of it – much more exciting than just standing onstage.”
Within a few short years, Voigt was enjoying a major international career in the super-competitive world of opera. She quickly developed a specialty for German composers, especially Richard Wagner. Local fans will have a chance to experience that expertise firsthand when Voigt performs Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra on Friday at Segerstrom Concert Hall. Fabio Luisi, the orchestra’s principal conductor, is a longtime collaborator with Voigt.
Despite her familiarity with Wagner’s work, Voigt isn’t entirely at home with his settings of five poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of one of Wagner’s patrons.
“I haven’t performed them terribly frequently. This is the third or fourth time that I’ve done them. They’re not easy to sing. They sit a little bit low for a soprano. But singing in my lower register isn’t so frightening for me anymore,” said Voigt, 56, who still performs frequently even though she began a busy teaching career last fall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
It helps that she’s working with Luisi. “Fabio is a wonderful conductor. We’ve worked on and off for 20 years and we know…