Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director David Zinman is a good judge of talent. So when an opportunity came yesterday afternoon at Temple Oheb Shalom to hear Deborah Voigt, whom Zinman described in conversation a few weeks back as the "next great Verdian soprano," it was hard to resist.
After listening to Voigt, 30, for less than 40 minutes (the Tchaikovsky Competition-winning soprano shared the program with other young contest winners in a concert sponsored by the Yale Gordon Trust), it was hard to disagree with Zinman's assessment. My only contention might be with the word "next."
Voigt's is an astonishing voice -- it is huge and it is beautiful. She sang Verdi's "Ernani, involami" from "Ernani" with invincible penetration, with steadiness and opulence of tone and with full-throated power that stunned even those listeners who were prepared to hear something remarkable. Voigt has high, soft notes that are pure velvet. In turbulent passages, the voice never loses focus and is just as beautiful as it is in softer ones.