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MUSIC REVIEW : Soprano Deborah Voigt a Little Shaky in L.A. Debut

November 25, 1987|CHRIS PASLES

Soprano Deborah Voigt would seem to be in a period of vocal transition, judging from her recent Los Angeles recital debut at Thorne Hall at Occidental College in Eagle Rock.

One remembers Voigt as a vocally lustrous Donna Anna in a Cal State Fullerton production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in 1985, just after she shared top honors in the Metropolitan Opera Western Regional auditions. Voigt then displayed a rich, creamy dramatic soprano that could blossom into a warm, resonant top.

These qualities could still be heard Friday in her program of music ranging from Handel to Walton, but also sensed was a hardened, unattractive core to much of the tone production, especially under pressure. The voice would tighten down instead of opening up, and this tightness sometimes produced unpleasant vowel sounds, especially in German.

Possibly these characteristics were brought on by nerves at her first recital so near home (she is a longtime resident of Placentia), yet the problems seemed too recurring for that.

Voigt was at her best in the multifaceted mini-characterizations in Wallace Berry's "Thirteen Limericks" and three songs by Debussy. But the drama and imagination needed for Wolf's "Mignon" and other settings of poems by Morike eluded her.

Pianist Susanna Lemberskaya provided skillful but too self-effacing accompaniment.

Voigt gave two encores: "I Could Have Danced All Night" from "My Fair Lady" and "Quando me'n vo' " from Puccini's "La Boheme."

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