Deborah Voigt, perhaps the foremost dramatic operatic soprano of the day, was moonlighting with a program of popular song by the likes of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Noel Coward. Profoundly aware that each song has a story to tell, her delivery is expressively honest and her voice lustrous and creamy.
Voigt crosses the opera-Broadway boundary with grace and elegance, harboring a strength reserved for special moments. She is also in the possession of a devilish sense of humor, which was delightfully used to frame a lyric with a naughty smile.
The diva wisely sidestepped the customary repertoire so frequently bandied about in Gotham clubs, choosing instead to reveal some theatrical treasures. Her concert theme was the subject of travel, and she served as perceptive tour guide for a trip around the world that settled in the tropical comfort of “Bali Hai.”
Voigt’s unerring dash of wit served to pay a tandem tribute to Beatrice Lillie, one of the funniest women to appear on the stage. From “I Get Around Faster Than Sound,” a delicious piece of whimsy from “High Spirits” and created for Lillie’s turn as the eccentric medium Madame Arcati, to “Paree” the Arthur Schwartz-Howard Dietz tour of the City of Light, Voigt cunningly delivered the double entendres with saucy allure and a wink of the eye. And with John Bucchino’s lovely “This Moment” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Theme From ‘Reds,’ ” the diva defined romanticism with a fervent and telling performance.