Voice Types in Opera                                                                          Operamania.com

Different roles in Operas are created taking into account different types of voices. Each role requires a different type of singer, not only able to sing a given vocal range but also  with certain voice characteristics: color, power, tone, etc

Voices can be classified into different categories with many subcategories, often with certain degree of overlap.

A category, sometimes named as a singer's Fach, refers to the "group of roles more congenital to a singer's voice and temperament"*

The following links provide a more detailed explanation or each of the subcategories, including video examples:

Feminine Masculine

Soprano

Mezzo / Contralto

Tenor

Baritone/ Bass

The text describing each of the subcategories is reproduced with permission from www.operapaedia.org, San Diego Opera.

Note from Operapaedia: Please note that judging whether a role or a voice-type is one thing or another can be a very subjective exercise. This list of voice types attempts to be conservative in terms of defining qualities and musico-dramatic demands, opting for traditional modes of casting which, in the real operatic world, do not always occur! For instance, the role of Don Giovanni is considered a baritone role, but is often sung quite successfully by a bass-baritone or even a bass. Carmen was written as a mezzo-soprano role but has been sung by sopranos. And in Germany, the Mozart tenor roles are more often cast 'heavier' than we would cast them in the United States. Voice categorization can, therefore, be some times frustrating and confusing. Keep open-minded…



* Opera 101 by Fred Plotkin