The Wagnerian soprano’s hotly anticipated Australian debut has been cancelled.

Sydney Opera House today confirmed the last-minute cancellation of Deborah Voigt’s first Australian tour due to urgent surgery.

The American soprano was in recital at the Utzon Room and in concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra next week, but a hip operation has forced her to withdraw.

Her Melbourne concert is sold out, with only a few hundred seats left for Sydney.

The soprano recently gave a tour-de-force performance as Brünnhilde in the Met’s notoriously demanding new production of the Ring cycle, staged complete in April and set to screen in Australian cinemas from June 30.

The latest setback of her hip injury is one of several that Voigt has risen above in the course of her career, which has seen struggles with obesity (the highly publicised Little Black Dress scandal at Covent Garden) and alcoholism. She will write candidly about overcoming such hurdles in her memoirs, to be published by Harper Collins in 2013.

“We wish Ms Voigt a speedy and full recovery, and hope that Australian audiences will have the chance to hear this exceptional artist in the near future,” said Sydney Opera House acting CEO Jonathan Bielski.

Voigt is the second high-profile soprano to cancel a major tour to Australia this year, following Jessye Norman, who scrapped her scheduled performances in April.

Although Voigt’s American songbook recital is off, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s concerts of Wagner and Richard Strauss at the Melbourne Town Hall on June 27 and the Sydney Opera House on June 29 will go ahead, with soprano Angela Denoke standing in.

Hailing from Germany, Denoke has performed many of the great dramatic soprano roles under the batons of conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim and Simon Rattle.

This concert will also be the first hearing of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with its incoming Chief Conductor Designate, Sir Andrew Davis, at the helm. The MSO confirmed the appointment yesterday after weeks of speculation. Sir Andrew will commence his four-year tenure with the orchestra in 2013.

Of Denoke, Sir Andrew said, “She is an artist that I greatly admire and the timing is perfect; Ms Denoke has just completed a critically acclaimed run of performances in the title role in Strauss Salome at Covent Garden and the final scene from this opera will end our program. I am looking forward to the concerts in Melbourne and Sydney immensely and to working with this fabulous artist.”

Angela Denoke replaces Deborah Voigt in concert with the MSO at the Sydney Opera House on June 29. View event details here.