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Opera Singers The Soprano

21st Feb 2011

Opera Singers – The Soprano
Opera singers are classified by several different voice types and these are based on their range, agility and strength. There are basically 5 main operatic voice types:
Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass
In this blog, we will focus on the Soprano who tends to be the one of the most popular at our Singing Waiter shows and Opera Galas due to the fact that most composers wrote the majority of the well-known “opera hits” for this voice type and the repertoire is so popular with audiences whether opera buffs or not.
Ah, the soprano! So magnificent, so captivating... so diva! Opera's shining star has always been held in high esteem by composers, critics, and audiences alike.  Her voice dominates the orchestra and is the easiest to discern among all others.
The word originated in the middle of the 1600s, referring to the female singer playing the lead role in an opera. The Soprano is often referred to as the” prima donna” which, literally translated into Italian, means “first lady”. Many prima donnas were sopranos historically, as leading roles were typically written for the soprano voice. The prima donna was typically entitled to certain rights as the leading lady, such as her own dressing room and special attentions from the director and composer to ensure that she looked and performed her best. Over time, the phrase has taken on a more negative meaning, referring to women who are selfish, egotistical, and temperamental. The word diva also has operatic origins and has come to be used in a disparaging way, much to the dismay of genuine prima donnas and divas, who tend to be extremely talented women who excel in the field of music.
Some of the most famous sopranos of our time include Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballe and more recently Renee Fleming and Anna Netrebko.
There is an endless repertoire for sopranos in the operatic catalogue of arias, but we have hand-picked our favourite soprano solo arias which we always like to include in our opera galas and surprise singing waiter performances as they are such a resounding success with audiences.
The Queen of the Night’s aria from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” – “Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen”/ "Hell's vengeance boils in my heart"). This technically demanding aria with its stratospheric high notes sets the atmosphere alight with its vocal firework display.
 “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s "Gianni Schicchi" pulls at the heart strings of every audience with its beautiful melody and touching words from a daughter pleading with her father.
“Sempre Libera”/”Always Free” from Verdi’s “La Traviata” – one of our favourite arias where Violetta Valéry, a famed and beautiful courtesan, tries to control her thoughts of love in an aria of outstanding beauty and vocal pyrotechnics.