From Voice Classification

Cast Change for Upcoming Wagner Operas at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera’s new “Ring” cycle has lost its Siegfried. Ben Heppner, one of the best Wagnerian tenors around, withdrew from performances of the last two installments of the cycle, “Siegfried” and “Gotterdammerung,” next season. http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/ben-heppner-drops-out-of-the-mets-ring/ Heppner is a Heldentenor (heroic tenor) – as termed by the German Theatre Fach System –  and has the ability to sing the very taxing roles that Wagner composed for the tenor voice.  The German Fach System further categorizes the main voice classifications of soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone,  and bass by vocal and dramatic demands required by certain opera roles.  In determining a singer’s fach one must…

Sopranos, Mezzos, Tenors, Baritones, and Basses – Oh My!

An opera neophyte is most likely curious about voice classification. What distinguishes a soprano from a mezzo-soprano, for example?  This is significant in the world of opera because operas are typically cast using voice type as a basis.  After a singer first meets the vocal qualifications though, he must look and act the part, catching the artistic director’s interest enough to get hired.  Bizet’s siren Carmen –  the title role in his most popular exotic opera – is a mezzo-soprano.  Mezzos are identified by their vocal range (the collection of pitches that they can sing from lowest to highest), vocal…