Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Deborah Voigt Rehired After Being Fired for Being Too Fat

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix


Deborah Voigt is finally putting on that little black dress. On Monday [June 9, 2008] Ms. Voigt, the acclaimed American soprano, will star in Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London: the very production from which she was fired in 2004. At the time, the director, Christof Loy, proclaimed her too heavy to wear a sleek black cocktail dress that he deemed integral to his concept. The dress has since become a symbol of skewed priorities among opera directors who value a singer’s appearance over vocal artistry.

To recap the controversy: After Ms. Voigt was fired from the production, she kept quiet about it for several months. When she finally went public, her story provoked infuriated reactions from opera buffs around the world and widespread coverage in the mainstream news media. A leading dramatic soprano, especially acclaimed for her singing of Strauss and Wagner, had been fired for being too fat: a blatant case of discrimination.

For the moment Ms. Voigt, who has not appeared at Covent Garden since 2001 and who had weight-reduction surgery in 2004, is making light of the matter. Last week she and her publicists produced a video spoof, “Deborah Voigt: The Return of the Little Black Dress,” and posted it on YouTube.

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