SF Opera Lab Presents Voigt Lessons Starring Deborah Voigt

Release date: 4/14/2016 


May 6 & 8 at the Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater

Meet Deborah Voigt at Post-Show Book Signings


Voigt Lessons.pdf  Photos Available


SF Opera Lab presents the West Coast premiere of Voigt Lessons, starring soprano and musical personality Deborah Voigt with music direction by Kevin Stites, May 6 and 8, 2016 at the Taube Atrium Theater. The intimate and acclaimed one-woman show weaves songs and arias, ranging from music by the Carpenters to Strauss, into a vivid and moving account of the superstar soprano’s life and career.

Voigt Lessons was developed in working sessions with award-winning playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello at the famed MacDowell Colony, and takes the leading dramatic soprano’s life and career as the basis for a revealing script that incorporates songs and arias of special importance to Voigt. At its premiere at the 2011 Glimmerglass Festival, Toronto’s Globe and Mail said: “Working with famous playwright Terrence McNally, director Zambello, and pianist Kevin Stites, the singer has created an intimate show that is both poignant and very funny. The script is a chronicle of her ups and downs, including a failed marriage, and battles with weight and alcoholism. …The result is an absolute gem and a theatrical love-in. Voigt wins the audience with her vulnerability, honesty and, most of all, her ability to laugh at herself.”

Deborah Voigt’s relationship with San Francisco Opera started in 1985 when she received professional training as a member of the prestigious Merola Opera Program, which led to her participation in the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship Program for the following two years. Before she rose to international fame, Bay Area audiences first heard her as an emerging artist in the Company’s Don Carlos, Jenůfa, Macbeth, Nabucco and Die Zauberflöte. She later returned to perform leading roles in Un Ballo in Maschera, Tannhäuser, Die Walküre, Ariadne auf Naxos and, most recently, in 2010 in the title role of La Fanciulla del West.



Following the performances, meet soprano Deborah Voigt as she signs copies of Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva. In this strikingly honest memoir, Voigt recounts her harrowing and ultimately successful battles to overcome the addictions and self-destructive tendencies that nearly cut short her life. Offering fascinating insight into the roles she has played and the characters she loves, along with hilarious anecdotes and juicy backstage gossip, Voigt paints diverting portraits of the artists with whom she has worked, her most memorable moments onstage and the secrets of her singing. The Associated Press described her autobiography as “a startlingly frank look at the life of one of her generation’s most prominent operatic stars.” Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva is available for sale at the performances and through the San Francisco Opera Shop at shop.sfopera.com

American soprano Deborah Voigt is one of the world’s most versatile singers and endearing musical personalities. With the singular power and beauty of her voice, and her captivating stage presence, she is internationally revered for performances in the operas of Wagner, Strauss, Verdi and more, besides serving as an active recitalist and exponent of Broadway standards and popular songs. She boasts an extensive discography and regularly appears—as both performer and host—in the Metropolitan Opera’s “The Met: Live in HD” series. Voigt’s memoir, Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva, was released in paperback in January 2016, and the current season sees her reprise her beloved one-woman show, Voigt Lessons,and star in The Pirates of Penzance at New York’s City Center. Having made her name as a leading dramatic soprano, Voigt has given definitive performances of iconic German operatic roles from Salome to Isolde. Also a devotee of Broadway and American song, she has sung with Rufus Wainwright at London’s BBC Proms, Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall, and Barbara Cook and Dianne Reeves at the Hollywood Bowl.

Broadway veteran Kevin Stites recently completed his second season as Music Supervisor/Principal Conductor of the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. He served as Music Director for the Broadway revival of On the 20th Century starring Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher, and conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic in concerts with Chenoweth. He was music director/conductor for Titanic in Concert at Avery Fisher Hall and music director for the 25th anniversary national tour of Les Misérables, as well as musical director for The Producers, Guys and Dolls and Les Misérables at the Hollywood Bowl. On Broadway, Stites’ extensive credits also include serving as music director/conductor for Titanic, Sunset Boulevard and A Tale of Two Cities. He has conducted the Broadway revivals of South Pacific, Nine with Antonio Banderas, Les Misérables, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, The Three Penny Opera and the 1999 revival of On the Town. He was also music supervisor for The Color Purple, for which he also composed the incidental music.


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Intimate, eclectic, adventurous—SF Opera Lab, San Francisco Opera’s newly launched programming arm, celebrates the power of the human voice theatrically in intimate spaces, including the Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco Opera’s new Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera. Voigt Lessons is the final presentation in SF Opera Lab’s inaugural season of innovative programming. The current season also includes:

The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert—Screenings of the Oscar-nominated French film with live performance of the original score by its composer Benoît Charest and Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville (April 14–23). SOLD OUT

ChamberWORKS­—Members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra curate eclectic and intimate nights of music and song featuring the 2016 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows (April 20).

For more information about SF Opera Lab, visit sfoperalab.com.


The Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater is a state-of-the-art performance venue designed to be configured in multiple ways. From traditional theater-style performances and seating, to cabaret settings with café tables and performances in the round, to more experimental configurations, the Taube Atrium Theater offers intimate and adventurous experiences with its public offerings. The theater is also distinguished by the Constellation® acoustic system from Berkeley-based Meyer Sound, an extraordinary innovation in acoustical science enabling artists to customize different acoustic environments for their performances with the press of a button. San Francisco Opera is the first opera company to use this technology, providing a virtually unlimited palette of acoustic possibilities to create the most compelling sound experience. 

The Taube Atrium Theater and the John M. Bryan Education Studio are the centerpieces of San Francisco Opera’s new Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera (located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco). Adjacent to the War Memorial Opera House, the Wilsey Center for Opera opened in late February 2016 and consolidates most of the Company’s operations into a single campus in the vibrant arts district of San Francisco’s Civic Center/Hayes Valley. For more information about the Wilsey Center for Opera, visit sfopera.com/wilseycenter.


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VOIGT LESSONS– West Coast premiere


May 6 (8 p.m.) & May 8 (7 p.m.), 2016   

Taube Atrium Theater at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera (Veterans Building, Fourth Floor)

401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102

Approximate running time:  1 hour, 15 minutes with no intermission 

Co-created by Deborah Voigt, Terrence McNally and Francesca Zambello



Deborah Voigt, soprano

Kevin Stites, piano and music director


Richard Jay-Alexander, stage director

Matt Berman, lighting designer


Superstar soprano Deborah Voigt's one-woman show, developed with playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello, weaves songs and arias into a vivid and moving account of her life and career with music direction by Kevin Stites.



Following the performances, meet soprano Deborah Voigt as she signs copies of her memoir, Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva. The book is available for sale at the May 6 & 8 performances and through the San Francisco Opera Shop at shop.sfopera.com

TICKETS:  $45 (general admission seating); available at sfoperalab.com or by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330. The Box Office at the Taube Atrium Theater will be open starting 60 minutes before each show.


For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.