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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since some have listed mezzos among their favorite sopranos on the other thread, I thought it might be nice to give these ladies a thread of their own.

My favorites:
Agnes Baltsa
Shirley Verrett
Elina Garanca
Waltraud Meier
Teresa Berganza

Yours . . . ?
 

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Sorry, w/the mezzos just can't leave it at 5. Here are 12(and leaving it at 12 was also very hard)that I enjoy the most.

Joyce DiDonato
Marilyn Horne
Teresa Berganza
Janet Baker
Anne Sofie Von Otter
Grace Bumbry
Regina Resnik
Olga Borodina
Cecilia Bartoli
Elina Garanca(esp. her)
Ewa Podles
Titiana Troyanos

That is just for starts.
 

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I was glad to see this thread, as I have a real love for the mezzo-soprano voice, and a special affection for the "Rossini mezzo"! Please understand that I haven't yet heard all mezzos; I'm especially "behind" on Joyce di Donato and have only heard Elina Garanca once (in La Cenerentola in 2009), but here's my current top five:

1. Jennifer Larmore
2. Cecilia Bartoli
3. Ruxandra Dunose
4. Agnes Baltsa
5. Dolora Zajick (I had the privilege of hearing her in the opera house as Adalgisa in Norma -- a truly remarkable lyric-dramatic mezzo)
 

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since this is my favourite category, I'll add the roles in which I particularly enjoyed these ladies:

Vesselina Kasarova (Sesto and Romeo)
Ann Hallenberg (Ariodante and Arsamene)
Brigitte Fassbaender (Octavian and Orlofsky)
Anna Bonitatibus (Irene and Piacere/Il trionfo)
Tatyana Troyanos (Composer)
Marilyn Horne (Isabella)
Kathleen Kuhlmann (Bradamante)
Sarah Connolly (Giulio Cesare)
Alice Coote (Nerone)
Sonia Prina (Clarice/La pietra del paragone)
Joyce Didonato (Rosina)
Liliana Nikiteanu (Dorabella)
 

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We know when a bass is not a tenor but the mezzo/soprano distinction is rather blurry. Is Meier really a mezzo when she's particularly famed for her soprano roles like Sieglinde and Isolde? Do not most sopranos take on an increasing number of mezzo roles as their careers advance? The fach system exists for the sake of convenience and is not a real qualifier of any singer.
 

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Christa Ludwig
Elina Garanca
Cecilia Bartoli
Agnes Baltsa
Joyce DiDonato
And Christa Ludwig again, because please, it's Christa Ludwig.
 
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I'm not really sure who the mezzos are.:confused:
 

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I don't know how you classify Kathleen Ferrier as a mezzo!
Well, there is that;-) Definitely Ferrier is more of a contralto ( as was Maureen Forrester) but she normally sang more ambiguous oratorio parts classified as alto. Still, probably her most famous opera role was as Orfeo, which is classified as a mezzo role and sung by such famous mezzos as Grace Bumbry, Janet Baker ( also frequently classified as an alto) and Stephanie Blythe. For that matter Ewa Podles is a contralto, but she sings mezzo roles such as Adalgisa, Delila and either Azucena or Ulrica ( I can't remember which). For me, when it comes to mezzos, the darker and more contralto-like the better, which is why I am not fond of Joyce Didonato and Susan Graham who sound like sopranos to me.
 

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Well, there is that;-) Definitely Ferrier is more of a contralto ( as was Maureen Forrester) but she normally sang more ambiguous oratorio parts classified as alto. Still, probably her most famous opera role was as Orfeo, which is classified as a mezzo role and sung by such famous mezzos as Grace Bumbry, Janet Baker ( also frequently classified as an alto) and Stephanie Blythe. For that matter Ewa Podles is a contralto, but she sings mezzo roles such as Adalgisa, Delila and either Azucena or Ulrica ( I can't remember which). For me, when it comes to mezzos, the darker and more contralto-like the better, which is why I am not fond of Joyce Didonato and Susan Graham who sound like sopranos to me.
I understand ,but we can't make it up as we go along really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We know when a bass is not a tenor but the mezzo/soprano distinction is rather blurry. Is Meier really a mezzo when she's particularly famed for her soprano roles like Sieglinde and Isolde? Do not most sopranos take on an increasing number of mezzo roles as their careers advance? The fach system exists for the sake of convenience and is not a real qualifier of any singer.
While there are some roles that can be sung by either a soprano or mezzo, there are just as many others that are clearly in one category or the other. A mezzo would have a pretty hard time of it singing the Queen of the Night or Turandot. And I'm not at all certain that "most" sopranos begin taking on mezzo roles as their careers progress. Like some tenors who will transition to "character" roles such as Herodes or Aegisthus at the very end of their careers, there are some sopranos who will take on the witch in Hänsel und Gretel or the Countess in Pique Dame at the end. And there are also those sopranos who started out as mezzos, transitioned to the soprano Fach, and then reverted to mezzo roles near the close of their careers.
 

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Janet Baker
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Bernarda Fink
Christa Ludwig
Monica Groop

Are the ones that really stand out for me.
 

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In preference order:
Brigitte Fassbaender
Anne Sofie Von Otter
Christa Ludwig
Joyce Didonato

I don't have enough experience to comfortably name fifth choice yet.

However, Brigitte Fassbaender is may favourite Mezzo by a wide margin. I especially adore her Winterreise and Schwanengesang Cycles above most other performances. Likewise, her performance on Mahler's Das Liede Von Der Erde is superb.

Janet Baker would likely be my fifth choice but I still need to hear more before I can say for certain.
 

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In preference order:

I don't have enough experience to comfortably name fifth choice yet.

Janet Baker would likely be my fifth choice but I still need to hear more before I can say for certain.
Try watching Janet Baker in the title role of Julius Caesar by Handel on Youtube. Not only does she have one of the most beautiful voices of all time, but her acting is superb. You'll put her down as the fifth.
Fassbaender is not a favorite of my sister as she sang Octavian to my sister's Sophie eons ago and made a pass at my sis the prude, which did not go over well! She, like Baker, was also a marvelous actor and maybe she was getting into the role too much;-)
 
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