Hometown recitals can be very encouraging events, as Deborah Voigt discovered Saturday night at Cal State Fullerton.
The prize-winning soprano, a native Californian and Fullerton alumna, possesses a strong, bright voice--and it has a heft, once taken for granted in opera, that now has become the exception rather than the rule. Understandably, she is looked to with an unusual degree of hope by voice-fanciers, who were out in force and prompt with acclaim.
That said, her voice is not an instrument of especially alluring timbre, with the brassy, penetrating top overbalancing the rather cloudy middle by a considerable margin: Only the lower range manifests consistent warmth. The tone tends to the searing rather than the endearing, and Voigt is generally unable to modify her output on behalf of intimate expression.
Two groups of songs were very well vocalized in a broad-stroke sort of way, Voigt’s solid, unmannered singing at least avoiding the precious-fussy syndrome. Yet Wolf’s “Auch kleine dinge” fails without a petit-point approach, while “Kennst du das Land?” founders when nothing is held in reserve for the musical high point.
Two Brahms songs missed real legato, a sense of light and shade, and the expansiveness for their long, arching phrases. On the other hand, Voigt soared through Strauss’ “Zueignung.”
She poured forth sound impressively in arias from “Lohengrin,” “La Wally,” “Adriana Lecouvreur” and “Aida.” But opera is not all forte , and she was defeated by the soft phrases ending Adriana’s dreamy entrance aria and the prayer closing Aida’s “Ritorna vincitor.”
Selections by Herbert, Gershwin, Loewe and Rodgers were the audience pleasers, especially with CSUF voice teacher Jane Paul as spirited pianist. Rita Borden accompanied all else sympathetically, inventing many new harmonies along the way.