We wrote about Deborah Voight all the way back in 2006. You might remember her as the opera singer who was fired for being too fat, and who had gastric bypass surgery. She was recently rehired to sing the same role that she was fired for, back in the day. The New York Times has an overview:
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.
Voight made a video called “Return of the Little Black Dress” where she spoofs the incident… and makes reference to her previous weight with jokes like the dress saying: “I thought our being together was… a bit of a stretch” and then apologizing and saying “I was wrong. Size doesn’t matter.” Of course even the NYT points out, if size doesn’t matter, why was she fired at size 30 and then rehired at size 14?
This all seems very “all’s well that end’s well!” and “getting skinny is the best revenge.” But of course she should never have been fired in the first place, and I guess in her place I’d be a little more angry, a little less willing to take the blame upon myself for being treated unfairly. And yet…
Still, for Ms. Voigt there have been upsides to this humiliating episode in her life. For one, she looks and feels terrific. After her surgery, by monitoring her diet and exercise closely, this 5-foot-6 soprano reduced her dress size from 30 (at her heaviest) to 14, with resulting benefits to her confidence and health. In recent seasons she has been winning acclaim for portraying characters meant to look alluring, like Puccini’s Tosca and, in a career milestone, Strauss’s Salome, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2006.
And while she hopes that the little-black-dress incident will not be the defining moment of her career, she said, “It’s allowing me the chance to talk about the subject of obesity, especially childhood obesity. It’s become so much more prevalent in society today, it really frightens me,” she added. “I had a weight problem, and will have one for the rest of my life. It’s a constant battle. Gastric bypass is not a cure, it’s a tool.”
So what do you think of the video and the article? Are you as ambivalent about it as I am?
Thanks to Eleanor for the link!
Posted by mo pie