Concert Voices

The richness and sensitivity of the human voice has the power to comfort and move us emotionally. Concert and opera singers perform individually, in duets and small groups, as well as, choirs and choruses.  They create rainbows of sound which momentarily enrich our lives; sometimes with lasting effects.

Operatic and concert singers are grouped into six general voice ranges, three for men and three for women. These cover high, medium, and low ranges.

Men:   Women:
Tenor High Soprano
Baritone Medium Mezzo-soprano
Bass Low Contralto

While there are numerous sub-categories of voice ranges, these are the basic categories. For a more information and a more detailed constellation of voice ranges, go to:

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/voice_type
www.operaphila.org/voiceparts

“In 1964 I heard recordings of the tenor Jussi Bjorling in Pagliacci and Maria Callas as Lucia di Lammermoor and there was no turning back; his tone was so plaintive and beautiful that I actually felt for the character, while she sounded like nobody I’d ever heard in my life and her emotions seemed primal. They made my body shake. … Could singing shock, bring sadness, amusement, and amazement, make one , as the composer Vincenzo Bellini said, ‘Weep, shudder, die’ and at the same time entertain, warm, and fill with joy.” p. xii

“… during the very late 1960s and all of the 1970s, I went to the opera (the Met and City Opera) three times a week. Without giving up my love for the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Beach Boys, Stevie Winwood (talk about a voice), and the first syllable of Sting’s ‘Roxanne,’ I have, since then, been loyally obsessed with the operatic voice. There’s something so freakishly  glorious about it, from bass to high soprano, that it demands a visceral reaction – anger, sadness, empathy, elation – and instant metaphor: dark, light, velvety, silvery, bell-like, chocolate, warm, golden, icy, laser-like, smooth. It is more like gospel singing than anything else, with many types of fervor in place of religious fervor. After a while singing seems like a natural extension of speaking; it’s just another step up the communication ladder. pp. xii-xiii

Robert Levine
Weep, Shudder, Die: A Guide to Loving Opera
New York: itbooks, 2011

Soprano:

Composer: George Gershwin ( 1898-1937)
“Summertime” (4:19)
(from Porgy & Bess)
Renee Fleming, soprano
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
James Levine, Conductor
I Want Magic!
London 460 567-2
(58:00)

Mezzo-Soprano:

Composer: Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
“At Your Voice My Heart Unfolds as Flowers Unfold,”
“Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix comme s’ouvre les fleurs”
(6:15)
(from Samson and Delilah, Samson et Dalila)
Elina Garanca, mezzo-soprano
Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bolongna
Yves Abel, conductor
Romantique
DG B0017522-02
(60:42)


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Contralto:

Composer: Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
“The Light of Day Fades …”  “Merknet svet dnevnoy” (5:47)
(Konchakovna’s Cavatina) (from Prince Igor)
Ewa Podles, contralto
Philharmonia of Russia
Constantine Orbelian, conductor
Ewa Podles – Russian Arias
Delos DE 3298
(60:18)


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Tenor:

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi (1831-1901)
“Beautiful Aida” (4:18)
“Celeste Aida”
(from Aida)
Placido Domingo, tenor
Unknown Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Opera Obsession! Opera d’Oro’s Greatest Hits
Opera D’Oro OPD-1001
(75:43)


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Baritone:

Composer: Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
“Good Night,” Gute Nacht (5:22)
 (from Winterreise, D 911)
Diedrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Gerald Moore, piano
DG 415 187-2
(72:00)


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Bass:

Composer: Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)
“My Song,” “La mia canzone” (3:08)
Ruggero Raimondi, bass
I Solisti Veneti
Claudio Scimone, conductor
Opera Scenes & Arias – Italian Songs
Warner Classics 2564 67314-6
(54:24)


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Vocal Ensemble:

Composer: Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791)
“Remember, gentle Jesus,”  “Recordare, Jesu Pie” (6:09)
 (from Requiem, K 626)
Emma Kirkby, soprano
Carolyn Watkinson, contralto
Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, tenor
David Thomas, bass
Orchestra & Chorus of the Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, conductor
L’Oiseau-Lyre  411 712-2
(44:00)


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.