Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 14:01 UK

'Fat' soprano back on opera stage

Deborah Voigt
Deborah Voigt in New York in 2004 (left) and performing in 2006

Soprano Deborah Voigt has returned to London's Royal Opera House, four years after she was fired for being too big.

The decision led to a debate in 2004 about weight discrimination in opera.

The slimmed-down American is now back in the Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos, wearing the black dress originally chosen for the role.

"When I got the call, I have to admit my first reaction was to laugh, because we had come full circle," Ms Voigt said before the opening night.

She had been scheduled to play the lead in the Royal Opera's summer 2004 production of Ariadne.

But the casting director decided she should wear a black evening dress and believed Ms Voigt would not suit it.

"I was angry about it at the time and for quite a while afterwards," Ms Voigt told the Associated Press.

However, the 47-year-old, who has now lost nearly 10st (61kg) said she "didn't need the Royal Opera House to tell me I was fat".

"I knew I was fat," she added.

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