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By Jodi Farrell, Adrienne Arsht Center

Dropped off at the Dadeland South Metrorail station four hours before acclaimed dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt’s concert at the Arsht Center last Friday, Paule Jackson, an 18-year-old aspiring opera singer from Richmond Heights, decided to stop at a Starbucks in downtown Miami.

“Going to be standing outside the Arsht Center for 3 ½ hours before @debvoight’s concert,” she tweeted. “Any suggestions on killing time?”

Minutes later, she received the best suggestion ever. From Deborah Voigt.

“Go to stage door now!!”

Voigt, a down-to-earth diva dubbed one of the top 25 cultural tweeters to follow by the Los Angeles Times, counts Paule among her 11,007 followers. Three months ago, she started following Paule back.

The Florida Grand Opera intern, who goes by “Paule Pockett” on Twitter, “just started running” when she saw the message. “I was in flats and a dress and purse, hitting it down Biscayne,” she said Tuesday, still breathless from the encounter.

Arsht Center Engagement Manager LisaMichelle Eigler let Paule slip in the Knight Concert Hall stage door at Northeast 13th Street and North Bayshore Drive. Paule, a home-schooled high school senior who covers her bedroom wall with opera posters, ticket stubs and Playbills, was ushered into the empty, acoustically-renowned hall where Voigt was rehearsing.

1♪Paule Pockett♪‏@Paule_4Equality15 Nov

I am THE ONLY ONE IN THE CONCERT HALL AND SHES LETTIG ME LISTEN IN ON THE PRACTICE BEFORE CONCERT I AM WEEPING

PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE AM I ALIVE

 2

After a half-hour warm-up, Voigt leaned off the stage and shook the star-struck teenager’s hand.

“She said, ‘You’re Paule, right?’ ” Paule said. “I just squealed. That’s all I could get out.”

1 ♪Paule Pockett♪‏@Paule_4Equality15 Nov

SHE KNOWS ME EXCUSE ME WHILE I DIE MY HAND SHE TOUCHED MY HAND

After Voigt’s Knight Masterworks-Ziff Classical Music recital – called “playful” and “superbly crafted” by South Florida Classical Review in the Miami Herald – the opera star invited Paule backstage. The two sat together on a couch in Voigt’s dressing room, where the soprano signed Playbills, CDs and a poster for Paule.

The Miami teenager’s Twitter account documents the opera-worthy encounter (along with her love of lattes and music lessons, and her struggles with life and her fabulously independent hair).

“I was crying and telling her how her voice had gotten me through some hard times,” Paule said. “She gave me advice. I just kept hearing the Queen song in my head, ‘Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?’ I still can’t believe this happened to me.”

Paule Jackson (left) and Deborah Voigt in the star soprano's Knight Concert Hall dressing room at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Photo courtesy of Paule Jackson

Paule Jackson (left) and Deborah Voigt in the star soprano’s Knight Concert Hall dressing room at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Photo courtesy of Paule Jackson

 

 

 

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