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Thread: Which roles which sound better with brighter/darker voices?

  1. #1
    Senior Member BalalaikaBoy's Avatar
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    Sep 2014
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    Default Which roles which sound better with brighter/darker voices?

    In the interest of narrowing things down, obviously a soubrette or lyric tenor is going to have a relatively bright voice and a bass, contralto, or dramatic baritone/mezzo is going to have a relatively dark voice. It makes more sense to narrow down discussion to roles which can be sung by voices with a variety of colors in the first place.

    better with a brighter voice
    - Brunhilde
    - Turandot. I'm probably in the minority here, but I like Turandot to sound feminine, youthful. she's supposed to be a beautiful princess, not a fur wearing socialite snob as she's normally portrayed.
    - Rosina
    - Adelgisa....really? the innocent, virginal young priestess is going to be played by a deep, dark dramatic mezzo? Surely that doesn't make any more sense to you than it does to me.
    - Desdemona
    - Joan of Arc. It can be sung by either a mezzo or a soprano. I prefer the latter.

    better with a darker voice
    - Norma. I hate to say this because I adore Sutherland's early Casta Diva, Ah Bello and high D in the trio, but the role requires the chest voice and agility in the lower range of a contralto. There needs to be some huskiness, venom, scorn.
    - Lady Macbeth
    - Abigaille
    - Manrico. I can see where tastes differ on this one because the music written for him doesn't particularly match his character. He is basically a minstrel, yet the music written for him is heroic and masculine as hell, so you either have a dark, manly voice which doesn't fit the character or a more lyrical, bard-like voice which doesn't fit the music. As it's more important to me that the music be pleasing in the auditory sense, I went with the former.
    - Rodrigo. For once, we have a baritone character who is young and idealistic. This should show in the voice.
    - Otello
    - Semiramide. In addition to being a queen, she's kind of a cougar. As such, a voice with a little extra mezzo in the middle register works better imho. Additionally, half the tessitura is more lyric mezzo to begin with (several mezzos have sung the aria) and the role was written for Isabella Colbran, a voice which was already pretty dark and low-lying, nearer the end of her career to disguise her disappearing upper register.
    - Duke of Mantua. He's a seducer. He should be at least a little dark and mysterious.
    - Carmen. To be frank, it is borderline offensive that soprano Carmens have become a norm (with an exception for assolutas like Callas and Verrett of course). Carmen needs to be femme fatale sounding. She needs sultriness, indecency, THIRST.
    - Don Giovanni: He is a predator. To be honest, the closer he is to sounding like a bass, the better.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    I agree that Brünnhilde and Turandot are preferable with brighter voices for the same reason Balalaikaboy argued that Turandot should have a bright voice.

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