Operatic Tenor

  1. A rising star on the operatic and concert stage, French tenor Benjamin Bernheim has been heralded as “a revelation” with a distinctive voice that is “flawless and pure, ranging from delicate pianissimo to heroic fortissimo as required.” (Opera News) This season, Bernheim is featured in an impressive array of house and role debuts at Europe's most acclaimed venues.
  2. This intermediate voice is called Mezzo-soprano. The parallel male voice with a range between that of tenor and bass is known as Baritone. These, together with the four previously named, constitute the 6 usual voice types. Further distrinctions are made, primarily in operatic music, on the basis of style and quality.

A coloratura soprano is a type of operaticsoprano voice that specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.

Operatic Tenor

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The term coloratura refers to the elaborate ornamentation of a melody, which is a typical component of the music written for this voice. Within the coloratura category, there are roles written specifically for lighter voices known as lyric coloraturas and others for larger voices known as dramatic coloraturas. Categories within a certain vocal range are determined by the size, weight and color of the voice. Coloratura is particularly found in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and 19th centuries. The word coloratura (UK: /ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə/COL-ə-rə-TEWR, US: /ˌkʌl-/CUL-, Italian: [koloraˈtuːra]) means 'coloring' in Italian, and derives from the Latin word colorare ('to color').[1]

Lyric coloratura soprano[edit]

A very agile light voice with a high upper extension, capable of fast vocal coloratura. Lyric coloraturas have a range of approximately middle C (C4) to 'high F' (F6). Such a soprano is sometimes referred to as a soprano leggero if her vocal timbre has a slightly warmer quality. The soprano leggero also typically does not go as high as other coloraturas, peaking at a 'high E' (E6).[2]Bel canto roles were typically written for this voice, and a wide variety of other composers have also written coloratura parts. Baroque music, early music and baroque opera also have many roles for this voice.[3]


Lyric coloratura soprano roles[edit]


  • Adele, Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss)
  • Adina, L'elisir d'amore (Donizetti)
  • Agrippina, Agrippina (Handel)
  • Alcina, Alcina (Handel)
  • Almirena, Rinaldo (Handel)
  • Alzira, Alzira (Verdi)
  • Amenaide, Tancredi (Rossini)
  • Amina, La sonnambula (Bellini)
  • Angelica, Orlando (Handel)
  • Ariel, The Tempest (Thomas Adès)
  • Aspasia, Mitridate, re di Ponto (Mozart)
  • Bianca, Bianca e Fernando (Bellini)
  • Blonde, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart)
  • Bystrouška, The Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček)
  • Carolina, Il matrimonio segreto (Cimarosa)
  • Celia, Lucio Silla (Mozart)
  • Cleopatra, Giulio Cesare (George Frideric Handel)
  • La Comtesse Adèle, Le comte Ory (Rossini)
  • Cunegonde, Candide (Bernstein)
  • Dalinda, Ariodante (Handel)
  • Dinorah, Le pardon de Ploërmel (Giacomo Meyerbeer)
  • Dorinda, Orlando (Handel)
  • Elisa, Il re pastore (Mozart)
  • Elizabeth Doe, The Ballad of Baby Doe (Douglas Moore)
  • Elvira, I puritani (Bellini)
  • Elvira, L'italiana in Algeri (Rossini)
  • Le feu/La princesse/Le rossignol, L'enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel)
  • Fiakermilli, Arabella (Richard Strauss)
  • Gilda, Rigoletto (Verdi)
  • Giulietta, I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini)
  • Ilia, Idomeneo (Mozart)
  • Inès, L'Africaine (Giacomo Meyerbeer)
  • Ismene, Mitridate, re di Ponto (Mozart)
  • Isotta, Die schweigsame Frau (Richard Strauss)
  • Juliette, Roméo et Juliette (Gounod)
  • Lakmé, Lakmé (Delibes)
  • Léïla, Les pêcheurs de perles (Bizet)
  • Linda di Chamounix, Linda di Chamounix (Donizetti)
  • Lisa, La sonnambula (Bellini)
  • Lucy, The Telephone (Menotti)
  • Madame Herz, Der Schauspieldirektor (Mozart)
  • Madame Mao, Nixon in China (John Adams)
  • Marguérite, Faust (Charles Gounod)
  • Marie, La fille du régiment (Donizetti)
  • Moll Hackabout, A Harlot's Progress (Iain Bell)
  • Morgana, Alcina (Handel)
  • Nachtigall, Die Vögel (Walter Braunfels)
  • The Nightingale, The Nightingale (Stravinsky)
  • Norina, Don Pasquale (Donizetti)
  • Olympia, The Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach)
  • Ophélie, Hamlet (Ambroise Thomas)
  • Oscar, Un ballo in maschera (Verdi) – trouser role
  • Philine, Mignon (Ambroise Thomas)
  • Philomele, The Love of the Nightingale (Richard Mills)
  • The Queen, Perelà, uomo di fumo (Dusapin)
  • The Queen of Chemakha, The Golden Cockerel (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov)
  • Rosina, (in the Soprano key) The Barber of Seville (Rossini)
  • Silvia, Ascanio in Alba (Mozart)
  • Tamyris, Il re pastore (Mozart)
  • Tinti, Massimilla Doni (Schoeck)
  • Tytania, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Britten)
  • Venus, Ascanio in Alba (Mozart)
  • Zemire, Zémire et Azor (Grétry)
  • Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (Richard Strauss)

Dramatic coloratura soprano[edit]

A coloratura soprano with great flexibility in high-lying velocity passages, yet with great sustaining power comparable to that of a full spinto or dramatic soprano. Dramatic coloraturas have a range of approximately 'low B' (B3) to 'high F' (F6). Various dramatic coloratura roles have different vocal demands for the singer – for instance, the voice that can sing Abigail (Nabucco, Verdi) is unlikely to also sing Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti), but a factor in common is that the voice must be able to convey dramatic intensity as well as flexibility. Roles written specifically for this kind of voice include the more dramatic Mozart and bel canto female roles and early Verdi.[[[Wikipedia:Citing_sources page needed]]]-4'>[4] This is a rare vocal fach, as thick vocal cords are needed to produce the large, dramatic notes, which usually lessens the flexibility and acrobatic abilities of the voice.

Dramatic coloratura soprano roles[edit]


Operatic tenor luciano
  • Abigaille, Nabucco (Verdi)
  • Alaide, La straniera (Bellini)
  • Amalia, I masnadieri (Verdi)
  • Aminta, Die schweigsame Frau (Richard Strauss)
  • Anne, The Rake's Progress (Stravinsky)
  • Anna Bolena, Anna Bolena (Donizetti)
  • Armida, Rinaldo (Handel)
  • Armida, Armida (Rossini)
  • Chief of the Secret Police Gepopo, Le Grand Macabre (Ligeti)
  • Donna Anna, Don Giovanni (Mozart)
  • Elettra, Idomeneo (Mozart)
  • Elena, La donna del lago (Rossini)
  • Elisabetta, Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux (Donizetti)
  • Elvira, Ernani (Verdi)
  • Esclarmonde, Esclarmonde (Massenet)
  • Europa, Europa riconosciuta (Salieri)
  • Fauno, Ascanio in Alba (Mozart) – trouser role
  • Giovanna, Giovanna d'Arco (Verdi)
  • Giulietta,I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini)
  • Giunia, Lucio Silla (Mozart)
  • Hélène, Jérusalem (Verdi)
  • Imogene, Il pirata (Bellini)
  • Königin der Nacht (Queen of the Night), The Magic Flute (Mozart)
  • Konstanze, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart)
  • Lady Macbeth, Macbeth (Verdi)
  • Leonora, Il trovatore (Verdi)
  • Lida, La battaglia di Legnano (Verdi)
  • Lina, Stiffelio (Verdi)
  • Lucia, Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
  • Lucrezia, Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti)
  • Lucrezia, 'I due Foscari' (Verdi)
  • Luisa Miller, Luisa Miller (Verdi)
  • Marchesa del Poggio, Un giorno di regno (Verdi)
  • Marguérite de Valois, Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer)
  • Maria Stuarda, Maria Stuarda (Donizetti)
  • Mathilde, William Tell (Rossini)
  • Medora, Il corsaro (Verdi)
  • Norma, Norma (Bellini)
  • Odabella, Attila (Verdi)
  • Rodelinda, Rodelinda (Handel)
  • Rosalinde, Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss)
  • Semiramide, Semiramide (Rossini)
  • Thaïs, Thaïs (Massenet)
  • Violetta, La traviata (Verdi)
  • Vitellia, La clemenza di Tito (Mozart)

Soprano acuto sfogato[edit]

In rare instances, some coloratura sopranos are able to sing in altissimo above high F (F6). This type of singer is sometimes referred to as a soprano acuto sfogato.[[[Wikipedia:Citing_sources page needed]]]-5'>[5]

Although both lyric and dramatic coloraturas can be acuto sfogato sopranos, the primary attribute of the acuto sfogato soprano is an upper extension above F6.[6] Some pedagogues refer to these extreme high notes as the whistle register.

Operatic Tenor Jill

Very few composers have ever written operatic roles for this voice type with actual notes scored above high F, so these singers typically display these extreme high notes through the use of interpolation in some of the operatic roles already cited above or in concert works. Examples of works that include G6 are the concert aria 'Popoli di Tessaglia!' by Mozart, Esclarmonde by Massenet, and Postcard from Morocco by Dominick Argento. Thomas Adès composed a high A (A6) for the character of Leticia Meynar in The Exterminating Angel.

The soprano acuto sfogato is sometimes confused with the soprano sfogato, a singer (often mezzo-soprano) capable, by sheer industry or natural talent, of extending her upper range to encompass some of the coloratura soprano tessitura, though not the highest range above high F.

See also[edit]


Operatic Tenor


  1. ^Oxford American Dictionaries.
  2. ^Dolmetsch Online – Music Dictionary Vm–Vz: 'soprano leggiero': 'also called a coloratura-singer, but only reaching e′′′'
  3. ^ abcBoldrey 1994, various
  4. [[[Wikipedia:Citing_sources page needed]]]_4-0'>^Coffin 1960, p. [page needed].
  5. [[[Wikipedia:Citing_sources page needed]]]_5-0'>^Apel 1968, p. [page needed].
  6. ^'Vox Mentor – Voice Categories'. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-05-18.

Cited sources

  • Apel, Willi (1968). Harvard Dictionary of Music: Second Edition. Belknap Press. ISBN978-0-674-37501-7.
  • Boldrey, Richard (1994). Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias. Caldwell Publishing. ISBN978-1-877761-64-5.
  • Coffin, Berton (1960). Singer's Repertoire: Part I: coloratura, soprano, lyric soprano and dramatic soprano. Scarecrow Press. ISBN0810845261, 978-0-8108-45268. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN978-0-8108-0188-2.

Other sources

  • Boldrey, Richard; Robert Caldwell; Werner Singer; Joan Wall; Roger Pines (1992). Singer's Edition (Light Lyric Soprano): Operatic Arias – Light Lyric Soprano. Caldwell Publishing. ISBN978-1-877761-02-7.
  • Boldrey, Richard; Robert Caldwell; Werner Singer; Joan Wall; Roger Pines (1992). Singer's Edition (Soubrette): Operatic Arias – Soubrette. Caldwell Publishing. ISBN978-1-877761-03-4.

Canadian Tenors Hallelujah

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