29 April 2004
What were they expecting?
Something Greg Hlatky said last month came to mind this afternoon:
Now no one is going to doubt that for a role like Salome, Miss [Deborah] Voigt's bulk might be a bit hard on the eyes. But what kind of state have we reached when costumes are considered more important in an opera than voices?
Voigt had been engaged for a Covent Garden production of Ariadne auf Naxos. What happened? Peter Katona, casting director of the Royal Opera, offered by way of explanation:
Normally Ariadne is presented on a stylized Greek island with the singers wearing toga-type clothes, but we wanted to present it in an elegant, modern evening dress.
I yield to no one in my admiration for the classic "little black dress," but it's obviously not for everyone, and it's apparent that Covent Garden was more interested in making a style statement than in presenting a credible performance of the Strauss opera.
I bring this up now because Deborah Voigt, who has one of those voices I would heedlessly follow into a dark wood with no thought to the consequences, is talking to Robert Siegel on All Things Considered, and while she's so over the dust-up with Covent Garden, she's not inclined to be forgiving either.
It boils down to this, she says:
More people look like me than they do like Britney Spears. The day Britney can sing Isolde, I've got a problem.
I don't think she needs to worry. And should Deborah Voigt come to the Tulsa Opera to sing Salome, I am there.