Coloratura soprano

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As a coloratura soprano is known in classical music , a soprano -voice with coloratura capability, that is a special mobility especially in the high register .


Within the coloratura subject, a distinction is made between the following gradations according to size, weight and timbre of the voice:

Coloratura soubrette or light coloratura soprano

A very light, delicate, very agile voice with a very high range - from a-f3 and higher - that is able to sing fast coloratura. The timbre is very clear and bright and is reminiscent of the sound of a transverse flute. The term soprano léger or soprano colorature is common in France, soprano leggero di coloratura, di agilità in Italy. In Germany, the term "light coloratura soprano" has not yet caught on in agencies and theaters. Subject overlaps with soubrettes and lyrical coloratura sopranos are common. Depending on the vocal color and repertoire, light coloratura sopranos are therefore traded in Germany as soubrettes or lyrical coloratura sopranos.

Famous coloratura soubrettes or light coloratura sopranos

Lily Pons

Well-known roles for coloratura soubrettes and light coloratura sopranos

Frequent song repertoire: Claude Debussy , Léo Delibes , Francis Poulenc , Aribert Reimann , Richard Strauss , Hugo Wolf

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Lyric coloratura soprano

A light, agile voice with a high pitch range - from a-f3 - that is capable of fast coloratura, a bit heavier from the Tessitur and generally more stable than a light coloratura part. In French they are called Soprano lyrique colorature , in Italian Soprano lirico di coloratura . Subject overlaps with coloratura soubrettes, light coloratura sopranos and lyrical sopranos are possible, and some roles for dramatic coloratura sopranos are now sung by lyrical coloratura sopranos (e.g. Lucia di Lammermoor, Violetta Valéry, Cleopatra). Therefore, lyric coloratura sopranos are used in a variety of ways and sometimes also outside of the subject.

Famous lyric coloratura sopranos

Carl Van Vechten : Beverly Sills, 1956

Well-known roles for lyric coloratura soprano

Frequent song repertoire: Claude Debussy , Robert Schumann , Franz Schubert , Richard Strauss , Hugo Wolf

Dramatic coloratura soprano

A heavy, powerful voice with a wide range - from a-e3 (rarely f3) - but which at the same time has the ability for agile coloratura. Most of the parts for this type of voice are not as high as the other two types of coloratura soprano (exception: Queen of the Night, for which a dramatic voice is not necessarily required). In Italian it is referred to as Soprano dramatico di coloratura (or d'agilità) , in French as Soprano dramatique colorature . She has a large, stable voice with penetrative power that can create dramatic climaxes, but also masters fast coloratura. Dramatic coloratura sopranos are generally rarer than lighter coloratura voices. Subject overlaps with lyric coloratura sopranos and dramatic sopranos are possible. It must also be emphasized that some singers are capable of dramatic effects without having the real abundance of truly dramatic vocal material.

Famous dramatic coloratura sopranos

Well-known roles for dramatic coloratura soprano

Frequent song repertoire: Vincenzo Bellini , Johannes Brahms , Wolfgang Rihm , Max Reger , Franz Schubert , Richard Strauss , Hugo Wolf , Giuseppe Verdi

Individual evidence

  1. from Aribert Reimann: Children's songs op. 15, No. IV., Schott Verlag
  2. Rosa Ponselle in the Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. Vivian Schweitzer: Rita Shane, a Met Soprano Known for Range and Intensity, Dies at 78. Obituary in The New York Times of October 12, 2014.