Stephanie Solanki, 10/1/12

Today, in class we discussed the different voice types. I learned that opera singers are like athletes. In order to preserve their voices, they have to maintain their bodies and lead a very disciplined life. Opera is a combination of the improvisation and music as an art. Opera was born around 1600 when people combined dramatic poetry readings and music.  Dr. Kahan said that the four most important opera writers are Mozert, Verdi, Wagner, Rucci, and Bizet, who wrote Carmen. The lowest voice type for a man is the bass. Mozart was inspired by the cultural revolution that occurred in the lat 17th century; he wrote about overcoming the oppressors. A recitativo is musical narration, where the plot gets moved along. The tunes are not memorable. An aria is the main part where the singer expressed an emotion, thought, or plot idea. The main tune is sung twice, and improvisation occurs the second time.

The Catalog aria in Don Giovanni is a light-hearted comedy.

The baritone is the next voice up after the bass. The Barber of Seville by Rocini is a comic opera writer. Figaro is the servant that bests his master. This is a patter song, because you sing many words at once. His music helps define who his character is.

The librettist has to know how the voice works and how to use text to define a character. We listened to Verdi’s Othello, which was his adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. It was a part of Iago. the music announces an evil character. Verdi had to present Shakespeare’s drama while letting the singer show off his voice to a nice tune. This singer was a dramatic baritone. It goes with his character because he had to use a lot of pressure at the top of his  voice, and Iago’s character is evil.

We then heard Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma from three different years. Pavarotti is a tenor. The difference in the both performances is that he was more confident in the second, more recent one. His voice was more powerful in 1998. He improvised more in the second one. He seemed much more emotionally connected in the last performance, and he was struggling a little more. However, he did move his body more.

The lowest voice type for a woman is the alto. The next up is Mezzo-Soprano, and one is in  Carmen by Bizet. There are many different sopranos, like the dramatic soprano. There is the lyric soprano. There is also the spinto soprano, because it can cut through a thick orchestra. The next is the light lyric soprano; these women have the comic roles. The coloratura is soprano who sings very high, very fast notes. Bizet has chosen a chromatic scale because it shows that Carmen is slithery and she breaks social rules.