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A role debut for Deborah Voigt as The Collegiate Chorale presents Gluck's Alceste
by Whitney Holden for Vocal Area Network
Posted May 20, 2009

Deborah VoigtOn May 26, 2009 at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theatre, The Collegiate Chorale will conclude its 67th season with a concert staging of Gluck's Alceste featuring The New York City Opera Orchestra. The program, which was prepared by the Chorale's late music director Robert Bass, will be led by conductor George Manahan. Soprano Deborah Voigt makes her first career appearance in Alceste as she assumes the title role opposite tenor Vinson Cole, who sings the part of King Admète.

This concert production marks the first New York performance of Gluck's Alceste since 1982. Completed in 1767 and revised in 1776 with a French libretto, Alceste is based upon the play Alcestis by Euripides. Set in ancient Thessaly, this moving tale of steadfast love and sacrifice recounts the internal struggle of Alceste, Queen of Pherae, who is told by an oracle that the only way to save her ill husband's life is to sacrifice her own. When the King's inquiry about his miraculous healing leads to the discovery of his wife's martyrdom, he pleads to the gods in hopes that they will spare his wife. The Collegiate Chorale will be performing the 1776 French version of the opera. In adapting Alceste from Italian for the French version, Gluck reorganized the piece dramatically, adding new music, and altering much else, essentially creating a new -- and ultimately more successful -- opera.

Widely acknowledged as today's preeminent dramatic soprano, Deborah Voigt adds this role debut of Alceste to an impressive career repertoire of dramatic heroines, such as Amelia, Aida, Lady Macbeth, La Gioconda, Tosca, Leonora, and Cassandre in Berlioz's Les Troyens. Voigt has also received accolades for lead roles in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Walküre, Fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin and in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, Egyptian Helen, Elektra, Rosenkavalier and Salome. Her discography of complete operas ranges from Tristan und Isolde to Les Troyens and Die Frau ohne Schatten. Her solo discs for EMI Classics are All My Heart -- songs by American composers -- and the best-selling Obsessions, with arias and scenes by Wagner and Strauss. Voigt's numerous awards and honors include first prizes in Moscow's Tchaikovsky Competition and Philadelphia's Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, and France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She was Musical America's Vocalist of the Year 2003 and received a 2007 Opera News Award for distinguished achievement in the art form.

American tenor Vinson Cole is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation. His career has taken him to all of the major opera houses across the globe including the Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Berlin State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Opera Australia and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In 1988 Cole made his Metropolitan Opera debut in as Alfredo in Die Fledermaus and later returned to the house for Manon, Traviata, Bohème, L'Elisir D'Amore, Gianni Schicchi and Carmen. Equally celebrated for his concert appearances, Cole performs regularly with the most prestigious orchestras throughout the world, under the batons of such eminent conductors as Sir Georg Solti, Christoph Eschenbach, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa and Gerard Schwarz.

A true dramatic baritone, Ryan Kinsella performs regularly with several leading opera companies throughout the U.S., including New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, among others. Specializing in dramatic Italian and German repertoire, Mr. Kinsella made his well-received New York City Opera debut in La Traviata, followed by NYCO productions of Turandot, Daphne and Capriccio. At Opera Theater of St. Louis, he appeared in Argento's Miss Havisham's Fire, La Bohème, and Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie. Minnesota Opera productions include Lucia di Lammermoor, La Bohème, Don Carlos and Adamo's Little Women. While Mr. Kinsella's initial endeavors in the baritone repertoire were rooted primarily in the full lyric Italian repertoire, most recently he has appeared as Amfortas in Parsifal, Holländer in Der Fliegende Holländer, and Wotan in Siegfried with the Wagner Society of Washington, DC.

Korean baritone Kyungmook Yum has been a member of the New York City Opera since 2004, where he has appeared as Schaunard in La Bohème, El Dancairo in Carmen, Masetto in Don Giovanni, The Master of Ceremonies in Cendrillon and Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, which was telecast in March 2008 on PBS. Other highlights of his repertoire include Germont in La Traviata, Valentin in Faust, Marcello in La Bohème, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Seville, Ping in Turandot and Amonasro in Aida. Kyungmook Yum has been the recipient of many awards including First Prize in the Korean Musician's Association Competition, National Opera Association Competition, and Palm Beach Opera Competition. He was also a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions. Mr. Yum is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center.

New York City Opera Music Director George Manahan made his company debut conducting Die tote Stadt in 1991 and was appointed Music Director of City Opera in 1998. In his tenure at City Opera, he has conducted 53 different operas, including two world premieres, four U.S. stage premieres and 41 new productions including, but not limited, to Margaret Garner, Cendrillon, Falstaff, L'Elisir d'Amore, La donna del lago, Capriccio, Il viaggio a Reims, The Mines of Sulphur, as well as Lizzie Borden, La Bohème, and Madama Butterfly ("Live from Lincoln Center" telecasts). Manahan has also conducted many other performances at such notable venues as Glimmerglass Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Australia and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. His recordings include Desire Under the Elms with London Symphony Orchestra (Grammy nomination).

The Collegiate Chorale, among New York's foremost vocal ensembles, has added to the richness of the City's cultural fabric for more than 65 years. Taking its name from its first rehearsal space, the Marble Collegiate Church, The Collegiate Chorale was founded in 1941 by the legendary conductor Robert Shaw, and achieved national and international prominence under the leadership of late Music Director Robert Bass. The Chorale has established a preeminent reputation for its interpretations of the traditional choral repertoire, vocal works by American composers, and rarely heard operas-in-concert, as well as commissions and premieres of new works by today's most exciting creative artists. In the summer of 2009, The Chorale will return to the internationally renowned Verbier Festival in Switzerland for three performances, including Fauré's Requiem and Mozart's illustrious Don Giovanni starring Bryn Terfel, Susan Graham, Rene Pape, Thomas Quasthoff and Matthew Polenzani.

Since its founding in 1943, New York City Opera Orchestra has been recognized as one of America's preeminent cultural institutions, celebrated for its adventurous programming, innovative production style, and legendary role in launching the careers of more than 4,000 young artists, including Beverly Sills, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Samuel Ramey, and Renée Fleming. The company's wide-ranging repertory of 273 works spans five centuries and countless styles, including 29 world premieres and 61 U.S. and/or New York premieres. During the current renovation of the David H. Koch Theater, City Opera has taken to the road, bringing live music and provocative cultural conversation to more than 14 different venues across New York City. In February 2009, George Steel began his tenure as NYCO's new general manager and artistic director.

For subscription and single ticket information, call (646) 792-2373, or visit www.collegiatechorale.org.

Whitney Holden is a publicist with Cohn Dutcher Associates. This article is adapted from a press release for The Collegiate Chorale.

Content Contact: Whitney Holden.
Revision Date: May 19, 2009.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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