Opera 101: Singers and Voice Types

Sunday, August 7

Nuestra publica!  Tempo is proud to present a new series:  Opera 101.  Learn the basics of Opera (capital O, please) in our short and insightful articles.


We promise not to take up too much of your time, but leave you lasting impressions with which to impress your friends at the next cocktail party or Twin's game.  As this is a new series, please leave comments as to what you would like to see in future articles.


Today's lesson:  Voice types!


Soprano
Sopranos sing the highest notes in Opera, and usually play sweet (or deranged) heroines.  The soprano range is from ~Middle C to ~High F.  Don't forget:  great $opranos also get paid the mo$t!


Famous sopranos include:  Renée Fleming, Natalie Dessay, Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas, and Leontyne Price.


Watch Natalie Dessay in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor:




Mezzo-Soprano
Mezzo-sopranos sing lower than sopranos, and often play evil characters or even young men (a "trouser role").

Famous mezzo-sopranos include Joyce DiDonato, Dolora Zajick, and Frederica von Stade.

Watch Dolora Zajick sing "Strida la vampa" from Verdi's Il Trovatore.


Counter-tenor
Counter-tenors are "male sopranos".  In old-school Italia, counter tenors were castrati.  Don't know what a castrato is?  My friend Ken will show you.


Watch David Daniels sing "Barbaro Traditor" from Vivaldi's Bajazet.




Tenor
On the High Cs, anyone?  After counter-tenors, a tenor is the highest of the male vocal "fach."  Just like sopranos, tenors get paid LOTS of moola, playing heros and hot lovers.

Famous tenors?  Pavarotti is considered the greatest.  His successors?  Juan Diego Florez and Lawrence Brownlee.  Jonas Kauffman ist sehr gut too, ja.

Watch Juan Diego Florez (or JDF, as I affectionately call him) sing "Ah mes amis" in Donizetti's La fille du régiment.


Bass-Baritone
Bass-baritone's are the "middle" male voice type, not quite being able to hit either the High Cs that tenors can hit or the low basso profondo notes of basses.  The men are usually quite hunky.

Current famous bass baritones include James Morris and Bryn Terfel.  Although watch out for Ryan McKinny ...

Watch Ryan McKinny sing "Die Frist ist um" from Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer.



Bass
Basses are the lowest of the low.  And that's pretty low.  So low that the Devil in Boito's Mefistofele and Gounod's Faust are both basses.

Watch René Pape sing "Le veau d'or" from Gounod's Faust.


That's all for today, folks.  Be sure to check back often for upcoming Opera 101's!

1 comments:

Tempo August 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

Nuestra publica! Tempo is proud to present a new series: Opera 101. Learn the basics of Opera (capital O, please) in our short and insightful articles. We promise not to take up too much of your time, but leave you lasting impressions with which to impress your friends at the next cocktail party or Twin's game. Today's lesson: Voice types!

Post a Comment

Find us

Tempo
c/o Minnesota Opera
620 North First Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401
tempo@mnopera.org

Friend Us



  © Blogger template Foam by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP