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Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva Hardcover – January 27, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“A startlingly frank look at the life of one of our generation’s most prominent operatic stars.”—Associated Press

In Call Me Debbie, internationally renowned opera singer Deborah Voigt describes her journey to become one of the world’s most celebrated artists and also discusses her private battles with addictions to food and alcohol, and a myriad of other self-destructive tendencies that nearly destroyed her.

Voigt reveals here the troubling sequence of addictive behavior that led to her being fired from a London opera production for being too large to fit into the “little black dress” demanded by the role, and her subsequent gastric bypass surgery and its dramatic aftermath. She speaks openly of the “cross-addiction” that led to severe alcoholism, frightening all-night blackouts, and suicide attempts. Here, too, is the story of how she achieved complete sobriety, thanks to a twelve-step program and a recommitment to her Christian faith.

Highlighting hilarious anecdotes and juicy gossip about what really goes on backstage, Voigt talks candidly about the impresarios, singers, and conductors with whom she’s worked and offers fascinating insight into the roles she has played and the characters she loves.

Complete with eight pages of color photographs, Call Me Debbie is an inspirational story that offers a unique look into the life of an incredible artist.

About the Author

Deborah Voigt is one of the world’s leading dramatic sopranos, internationally revered for her performances in the operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. She has also portrayed some of the iconic heroines in Italian opera to great acclaim. An active recitalist and performer of Broadway standards and popular songs, Voigt appears regularly, as both performer and host, in the Metropolitan Opera’s The Met: Live in HD series. She is also co-creator of Voigt Lessons, a one-woman show she developed with award-winning playwright Terrence McNally and director Francesca Zambello.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (January 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062118277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062118271
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 29, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a relatively recent convert to the joys of opera - both live and on the screen - I "discovered" the "Live at the Met in HD" Saturday broadcasts a couple of years ago. I almost like them better than attending performances because the camera at the Met is directed where it's important that the viewers watch. For a "newb" like me, that's golden. Another great part of the broadcasts are the live backstage interviews by singers who take us "behind the scenes" of the performance. Of the several I've seen, I think my favorites are those done by soprano Deborah Voigt. She brings a freshness and sense of joyful playfulness to the interviews of the performers and conductors. She asks questions that are a bit "unexpected" and it's fun to hear the answers she elicits.

Deborah Voigt - born "Debbie Joy Voigt" to teenage parents - has written an interesting autobiography, "Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva". Voigt seems to hold nothing back about her private life, from being raised in a "Christian" home where her parents were alternating between encouraging Debbie's vocal gifts to washing her mouth out with soap for not behaving. She's candid about her addictions to food and liquor and her attempts at losing weight and staying sober. Voigt also writes about her love life, which seems to have been one unavailable lover after another.

Deborah Voigt's professional life, her education, her operatic advancement, and the music and performers she's worked with over the years are also covered with honesty. That "little black dress" debacle at London's Royal Opera House in 2004 when Deborah was fired from a role - "Ariadne" in Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos - because she was too heavy to wear the black dress the director wanted her to wear.
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Format: Kindle Edition
That was the voice that the author heard, whilst still a young girl in 1974, sitting in bed. These words, apparently a message from God, were "powerful enough to put me onto the path I would follow from that moment onward." Indeed, starting from such modest beginnings, that little girl went on to become a great opera singer, starring in many of the most famous operas in history, and performing on some of the greatest stages on earth.

It was not at all an easy route for young Debbie. There wasn't much encouragement on the family front, where the musical choices were severely limited. Her parents announced, "We don't want you listening to any of that wild, rock and roll." At first, instead of getting much-needed approval, little Debbie got scorn and shame. Nonetheless, she loved to sing roles from the great musicals such as My Fair Lady and the Sound of Music.

Eventually, when her talent was becoming very obvious, and she was winning awards in school, Debbie finally got some encouragement from her parents, who looked for voice teachers for her. This led her to some kind mentors.

One of the most touching scenes revolves around the "Crystal Cathedral" in Orange County, California. The pastor's wife was an avid opera fan, and had created a music scholarship. She auditioned for, and won that scholarship, and she briefly studied voice with a teacher at that church. At the Crystal Cathedral, Debbie got just the encouragement she needed, after singing to a teacher there: "Listen to me. Please. You REALLY have talent. Your voice is a gift and you've got to do something with it." This prompting led Debbie to her most inspirational teacher, Jane, who became "the most influential voice teacher in my life...
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I was searching for a book to read on my Kindle. I was reading the info telling what the book was about. I tapped the screen to enlarge the print and accidentally purchased the book. I thought this book I am meant to read! I could not put it down! I still struggle with alcohol. I have attended AA, I always go back to the bottle. But I pray one day I can love myself enough to find the strength to let go and let God. Bless you Debbie Voigt!
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I've had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Voigt on the stage of the Met on many occasions, ( both heavy and svelte,) had no idea of the HELL she was going through. I could not put this book down. Her honesty about herself makes her all that more remarkable. I've been going to the Met since age 9 and I am now 76 years of age, so have heard the greats and the not so greats, Ms. Voigt is among the greats. All I can say is Bravo, Bravo Ms. Voigt .
Evelyn Lilienfeld
Palm Beach Gardens, Fl.
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I enjoyed this book very much. Deborah Voigt is a great artist and has had a fascinating life. I have always liked and respected her so much that it was a little hard to read about how she did not always treat herself with love and respect, but I sincerely hope that is all in the past. It is a very engaging sometimes funny, sometimes sad account, but always seems very true to life and down to earth.
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Format: Hardcover
As a long-time fan of opera and of Deborah Voigt's beautiful voice, I really enjoyed this book. Of the thousands of people with beautiful voices who aspire to become opera singers, very few become successful professional singers. What distinguishes these few--talent, training, perseverance, personal charisma, luck? What personal challenges and sacrifices are required to be a singer? How does sudden weight loss affect the voice? If you are interested in these questions, I think you will like this book.
Voigt courageously recounts her frailties in her personal life--compulsive eating, bad relationships, and alcoholism. It seems to me miraculous that, in spite of these problems, she has had such a successful career in opera. I think that, in addition to being a remarkable singer, she is a remarkable human being.
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