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A thinner Voigt fits Royal Opera House's role now

The soprano underwent gastric bypass surgery after being let go in 2004 and is signed to return in 2007-08.

July 10, 2006|Beth Gardiner | Associated Press

LONDON — An American soprano fired by the Royal Opera House because of her weight has been rehired after undergoing stomach surgery and losing 135 pounds, her spokeswoman and the prestigious theater said Sunday.

Deborah Voigt, one of the world's top opera singers, lost her part in Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" in 2004 because the Royal Opera House decided a slimmer singer would be better.

She now has a contract to return to the role in the 2007-08 season, a Royal Opera spokeswoman said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the house does not officially announce its casts so far in advance.

"She's very, very excited," Voigt's spokesman, Albert Imperato, said in New York. "She's just definitely felt like, 'I've not had a chance to really build my career in London, it's a major opera capital.' It was very sad for her that she didn't get a chance to do Ariadne originally."

Voigt had been scheduled to play the lead in the Royal Opera House's summer 2004 production of "Ariadne auf Naxos," but the casting director had selected a black evening dress for the part and believed Voigt would not look right in it, the opera house said at the time.

German Anne Schwanewilms sang the role in that production.

Voigt had gastric bypass surgery in June 2004. When she disclosed it the following March, she said that she had worn size 30 clothes at her heaviest and that her goal was a size 12.

"She had decided on doing this procedure completely based on her health concerns. It was something she had thought about for many, many years, long before the little black dress," Imperato said.

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