Acting in Plays, Singing/Soprano pieces for re-invention
Hello! I have always sung the alto voice but according to my voice past voice teacher and others I have the range of a dramatic soprano. I have never performed soprano pieces and I am getting back into auditioning after taking some time off for family.I would just like to know where would be a good place to start to build my soprano repertoire? Thank you in advance!!
Hi, Dominica --
Thank you for the question.
The term “dramatic soprano” is generally associated with the operatic repertoire and related classical music, i.e., art songs, the symphonic literature, oratorio, etc. The term refers to a vocal category or “fach”. As with the repertoire of an alto or mezzo-soprano, a dramatic soprano has qualities and textures in her voice that are ideally suited to a very specific list of roles. Another fach is the dramatic coloratura. Along with the power, she has an extended upper range and greater vocal agility.
Again, referring to the operatic repertoire, some of the composers who have created roles for the dramatic soprano include Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Bellini, Strauss, Puccini, Donizetti, etc. Examples of those roles are Tosca, Aïda, Elsa, Sieglinde, Donna Anna, Ariadne, etc. The dramatic coloratura roles include Violetta, Fiordiligi, Rosalinda, Donna Elvira, etc.
It is not unusual for young mezzos to have accumulated performing experience in that fach and then suddenly be advised that their voice is actually that of a soprano and in a certain fach, i.e., dramatic soprano. But that scenario usually happens in very advanced situations – for example, in an intense training program linked to a major company. Here in San Francisco that would be the Merola Opera Training Program.
Getting back into vocal shape after a period of absence is a challenge even for the singer who is absolutely certain of their vocal category. But if it involves moving into an entirely different range, it’s not just a matter of singing higher – it’s about the adjustments that are made with placement and overall balance.
That’s where I come in as a vocal coach. My job as a singing teacher is about training your voice according to your vocal category – no matter what you sing. Obviously, the type of music you want to pursue has a huge influence on the training session. For example, the Pop singer – including those pursuing musical theatre – does not need / does not want to be heard over a large orchestra without a microphone in a theatre holding several thousand or more people.
What are your immediate goals? What kind of music do you want to sing? Where might you audition three months from now, six months or a year from now?
Keep in mind that vocal training is not only about working smart – it’s also about competition. At the moment, your “audition chops” are as rusty as your vocal range.
I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I'm also a music critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
and Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/user/4557381/articles
. When you want to make an appointment, contact me at: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com. I am also available for sessions on Skype.
Below are links to my recent articles and interviews:
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