A dramatic soprano is a type of operatic soprano with a powerful, rich, emotive voice that can sing over, or cut through, a full orchestra. Thicker vocal folds in dramatic voices usually (but not always) mean less agility than lighter voices but a sustained, fuller sound. Usually this voice has a lower tessitura than other sopranos, and a darker timbre. They are often used for heroic, often long-suffering, tragic women of opera. Dramatic sopranos have a range from approximately low A (A3) to "high C" (C6).Some dramatic sopranos, known as Wagnerian sopranos, have an exceptionally big voice that can assert itself over a large orchestra (of more than 80 or even 100 pieces). These voices are substantial, often denser in tone, extremely powerful and, ideally, evenly balanced throughout the vocal registers. Wagnerian sopranos usually play mythic heroines. Successful Wagnerian sopranos are rare and often Wagnerian roles are performed by Italianate dramatic sopranos.
The following dramatic roles are for dramatic sopranos:
The following Wagnerian soprano roles are for dramatic sopranos:
A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (; Italian: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno]; meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.
The German Fach system is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used worldwide, but primarily in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries and by repertory opera houses.
Jane Eaglen is an English dramatic soprano particularly known for her interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner and the title roles in Bellini's Norma and Puccini's Turandot.
Leopoldine Rysanek was an Austrian dramatic soprano.
Anja Silja Regina Langwagen is a German soprano who is known for her great abilities as a singing-actress and for the vastness of her repertoire.
Dame Gwyneth Jones is a Welsh operatic dramatic soprano, widely regarded as one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos in the second half of the 20th century.
Viorica Ursuleac was a Romanian operatic soprano. Viorica Ursuleac was born the daughter of a Greek Orthodox archdeacon, in Chernivtsi, which is now in Ukraine. Following training in Vienna, she made her operatic debut in Zagreb (Agram), as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther, in 1922. The soprano then appeared at the Vienna Volksoper (1924–26), Frankfurt Opera (1926–30), Vienna State Opera (1930–35), Berlin State Opera (1935–37), and Bavarian State Opera (1937–44). She married the Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss in Frankfurt during her time there.
Ingrid Kristine Bjoner Pierpoint was a Norwegian soprano who had an international opera career between 1956 and 1990. She was particularly celebrated for her portrayal of Wagnerian heroines and for her performances in operas by Richard Strauss. In addition to performing in operas, Bjoner was an active concert soloist and recital performer throughout her career.
Éva Marton is a Hungarian dramatic soprano, particularly known for her operatic portrayals of Puccini's Turandot and Tosca, and Wagnerian roles.
Deborah Polaski is an American opera and concert singer (soprano). She has specialized in dramatic soprano roles and also sings mezzo-soprano roles occasionally.
Eva Johansson is a Danish operatic soprano.
Klara Barlow was an American opera singer who had an active international career from the mid-1960s through the 1990s. A dramatic soprano, Barlow particularly excelled in portraying Strauss and Wagnerian heroines. The 5-foot-11-inch-tall "platinum-blonde beauty" was ideal for playing the "Wagnerian blondes": roles like Elsa, Eva, Sieglinde, and Elisabeth. Although she worked most often in the German repertoire, Barlow also sang roles from the Italian, French, and Czech repertories. While her performance credits included leading roles at most of the world's major opera houses, she never achieved a high level of international fame. She did not participate in any commercial audio recordings, although her voice is preserved on a few television and radio broadcasts made in Germany, Canada, and the United States.
Jennifer Wilson is an American soprano known especially for her Wagnerian opera roles. She is the daughter of Newton Wilson and Katherine Still. The daughter, granddaughter and niece of professional singers, instrumentalists and music educators, Wilson grew up steeped in music from opera and oratorio to rock 'n' roll and bluegrass. She began tap dance lessons at age 3, ballet at 8, piano at 10, and solo classical singing at 12. Wilson attended Cornell University for several years, eventually departing on a leave of absence which she filled with advanced training in acting, languages, and vocal studies with former Metropolitan Opera coloratura soprano Marilyn Cotlow. During this time, Wilson supported herself as a news bureau assistant and wire editor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The consolidation of US international broadcast services in 1995 caused Wilson to lose her position with RFE/RL, forcing her to find other employment. At this point she took up singing full-time, though her breakthrough to the elusive ranks of international soloist was still several years away.
Catherine Foster is an English operatic soprano, who has appeared internationally, mostly in European opera houses. Her repertoire has focused on dramatic soprano roles in stage works by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, such as the title role of Elektra, and Brünnhilde in Der Ring des Nibelungen, a role which she performed at the Bayreuth Festival in 2013 for Wagner's bicentenary.
Gladys Kuchta was an American operatic soprano who sang leading roles in opera houses worldwide including the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House, Bayreuth Festival, San Francisco Opera, and the Teatro Colón.
Ursula Schröder-Feinen was a German operatic soprano who performed at the Metropolitan Opera and the Bayreuth Festival.
Gabriele Schnaut is a German classical singer who started her operatic career as a mezzo-soprano in 1976 and changed to dramatic soprano in 1985. She has appeared internationally and performed at the Bayreuth Festival from 1977 to 2000. She recorded works by composers of the 20th century and appeared in the premieres of operas by Wolfgang Rihm and Jörg Widmann.
Evelyn Herlitzius is a German opera singer, a dramatic soprano. She is known for performing major roles in works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, such as Brünnhilde, Isolde and Elektra, at the Semperoper, the Bayreuth Festival and leading European opera houses.
Ute Vinzing is a German operatic soprano who received the title Kammersängerin. She is known for dramatic roles by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, including Brünnhilde, Isolde, Ortrud, Kundry, Elektra and the Dyer's Wife, which she performed internationally.
Erna Schlüter was a German operatic dramatic soprano and voice teacher. Beginning as a contralto at the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater in 1922, she moved to the Nationaltheater Mannheim in 1925 where her voice developed to dramatic soprano, to the Stadttheater Düsseldorf in 1930 where she appeared in 1933 in the world premiere of Winfried Zillig's Der Rossknecht and was awarded the title Kammersängerin. Her last station, from 1940, was the Hamburg State Opera.