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Coloratura soprano

A coloratura soprano is a type of operatic


soprano voice that specializes in music
that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps
and trills.

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.

Lyric coloratura soprano


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).[1] 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.[2]

Lyric coloratura soprano


roles[2]

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 (Nicolai 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


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.[3] 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[2]

Abigaille, Nabucco (Giuseppe Verdi)


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

Soprano acuto sfogato


In rare instances, some coloratura
sopranos are able to sing in altissimo
above high F (F6) with great ease. This
type of coloratura is sometimes referred to
as a soprano acuto sfogato.[4]

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.[5]

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.

See also
Lyric soprano
Dramatic soprano
Soubrette

References
Notes

1. Dolmetsch Online – Music Dictionary


Vm–Vz
2. Boldrey 1994, various
3. Coffin 1960
4. Apel 1968
5. Vox Mentor – Voice Categories

Cited sources

Apel, Willi (1968). Harvard Dictionary of


Music: Second Edition. Belknap Press.
ISBN 978-0-674-37501-7.
Boldrey, Richard (1994). Guide to
Operatic Roles and Arias. Caldwell
Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-
877761-64-5.
Coffin, Berton (1960), Singer's repertoire:
Part I: coloratura, soprano, lyric soprano
and dramatic soprano. Scarecrow Press,
Inc. ISBN 0810845261 ISBN 978-0-8108-
45268; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,
Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-0188-2

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 Company.
ISBN 978-1-877761-02-7.
Boldrey, Richard; Robert Caldwell;
Werner Singer; Joan Wall; Roger Pines
(1992). Singer's Edition (Soubrette):
Operatic Arias – Soubrette. Caldwell
Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-
877761-03-4.
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