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A 'Down-To-Earth Diva' Confronts Her Flaws And Good Fortune
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January 17, 2015 7:30 AM ET

NPR Staff

One of the most sought-after opera singers in the world was once fired because she was thought too large to wear a little black dress. In 2004, Deborah Voigt was set to star at London's Royal Opera House in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. It's one of her signature roles. But producers cancelled her contract. They said she wouldn't meet the theatrical demands of the role.

Voigt is just fine today. She ended up using her settlement to pay for gastric bypass surgery and ultimately slimmed down and glammed up her career. But there have been a lot of operatic swan-dives along the way. Voigt, who has performed with Luciano Pavarotti and with Plácido Domingo and in opera houses throughout the world, has written a memoir, Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva, about her trials and triumphs onstage and off. Voigt spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about food addiction, losing weight, gaining confidence and the thrill of making her voice soar over a huge orchestra.

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