OperAria Mezzo Soprano
Repertoire Collection edited by Peter Anton Ling and Marina Sandel [Mez,pno]
Publication of Vol. 2 is scheduled for the first half of 2021.
“One of the most difficult decisions for singers (and their teachers!) is finding the right repertoire for the present state of vocal development. These three volumes for mezzo-soprano and alto provide a magnificent orientation, and are a great gift!” (Marilyn Schmiege, Patron mezzosoprano, alto)
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“Una voce poco profonda”: Curtain up for Trouser Roles and Heroines
Whether the voice is lyric light or heavy, whether it can master coloratura, perhaps even has dramatic potential – in the OperAria mezzo-soprano and alto volumes, singers with a deeper voice and a special talent for the trouser role through to the heroine find everything they need for their performance. Throbbing of the heart? Yes, that’s simply part of the game! Feeling nervous? No, because actually nothing can go wrong with OperAria. The best vocal coach for auditions and current theatre practice. Only the voice needs to do its bit. Toi, toi, toi!
“Our goal is to give the user a modern-day, systematically structured vocal coach who satisfies the demands of present-day theater practice. At long last a consistent repertoire and a well-ordered conflation of respective audition arias for all vocal genres.” (Peter Anton Ling and Marina Sandel, editors)
OperAria – repertoire anthology of opera arias according to vocal criteria (range, tessitura, specifics, type of aria) with due regard to practical aspects of musical and theatrical nature (style, era, role type, national provenance)
with comments on the arias
- information on the composer, the librettist, the work, the range and of versions or casting
- a short synopsis of the contents illuminating the basic dramatic constellation in the context of the opera’s plot
- an evaluation from the singer’s point of view
with “phonetic assistant” and “text assistant”
- aria texts in the original language spoken by native speakers as an audio file (mp3)
- aria texts in German and English translations as a text file (pdf)
available for download
What is a voice made of? Cartilage, muscle, ligament and epithelium, of course; but also the personality, interests, predilections and character traits which make each and every human being unique.
Each of us is an individual. And so, just as shoes come in sizes 5, 7 and 6½, so too do voices come in all conceivable variations, with many nuances and facets in each voice category. Each rôle demands its corresponding physique, the necessary power and flexibility (in the laryns as well as in the breathing apparatus) and an adequate psychological affinity and imaginative power in order to really be successfully sung and credibly brought to life on stage.
One of the most difficult decisions for singers (and their teachers!) is finding the right repertoire for the present state of vocal development: What could I sing onstage right now? What repertoire might I grow into? What should I avoid at all costs? These three volumes for mezzo-soprano and alto provide a magnificent orientation, and are a great gift!
The experts who have selected these arias are experienced singers and teachers. They have taken into account not just range and tessitura, but also stylistic, musical and practical questions such as orchestration and scoring, epoch, theater size, historical performance practice and the ins and outs of casting by theaters and agents.
Not even this intelligently compiled collection of opera arias can be ultimately conclusive or universally suitable for every singer. There will always be such rare beasts as can sing and act a plethora of voice categories well and convincingly. However, it can be very beneficial for all singers to take a look over the fence; a few bars of Wagner now and then, for instance, judiciously selected, can be a really healthy way to extend physical and mental horizons.
It is a great pleasure to find in these tomes well-sorted evergreens and rareties and also arias as yet unknown to me. I am convinced that you will be as enthusiastic as I am, and therefore I wish you bon voyage on this exploratory journey into new repertoire – and into yourself!
Marilyn Schmiege, Munich, Spring 2020
Everyone knows them as faithful companions on one’s path to vocal mastery: the traditional aria albums. Sometimes these albums were simply hastily compiled loose sheets, and their musical texts hard to read or play, and were not always authoritative. They were part of the singer’s training. They were serviceable and saved the singer a great deal of research in libraries, even if many of the arias printed in such anthologies did not suit the singer’s voice. The repertoire often presented a potpourri of vastly contrasting pieces and only took into account the distinction in vocal ranges. Other times, ambitious editors compiled into one volume parts which, from a singer’s point of view, were so distant from one another that they could not be mastered by one and the same person. Even the multifarious resources of the Internet have yet to offer any compelling alternative.
The goal of the present repertoire collection of opera arias is to give the user a modern-day, systematically structured companion or – to stay in character –, a knowledgeable, well-informed and up-to-date vocal coach who satisfies the demands of present-day theater practice. Although developed mainly for use in college- or university-level studies and theatrical auditions, the collection does not solely target students, but also singers who are already professionally active and wish to expand their specialized repertoire or prepare for a change of voice range. Moreover, a well-ordered conflation of the audition repertoire, as presented here, might also be interesting to anyone involved in vocal pedagogy and to all who wish to be knowledgeable about specific vocal profiles for casting-related matters, including those responsible for the casting of theatrical roles.
The present volume contains a representative cross-section of the lyric repertoire for mezzo-soprano and forms part of a comprehensive repertoire anthology of opera arias for all vocal genres. The basic subdivision into the lyric, lyric–dramatic, and dramatic categories is conceived as a means of orientation; it suggests a direction, but leaves enough room to showcase the individuality of the various types of voices and roles. This is why it is increasingly seen as a valuable supplement to the traditional “Fach” specification used by teachers and theatrical casting professionals, without seeking to compete against this traditional vocal division. Obviously, an overlapping of the categories and repertoire contained in the individual volumes cannot always be precluded on account of the very supple division that we have made here.
The selection of arias from three centuries of classical opera repertoire was made according to vocal criteria (range, tessitura, specifics, type of aria), while taking into account practical aspects of a musical and theatrical nature (style, era, role type, national provenance). Arias from Baroque operas which are commonly found in today’s repertoire but sometimes call for very different qualities and additional knowledge, were as a rule not included in this selection.
Generally, but not always, the basic character of the aria in question reflects that of the entire part. In cases where the vocal demands of the individual aria diverge considerably from those of the overall role, this will be pointed out specifically in order to banish the danger of overtaxing the voice. We have chosen well-known audition arias as well as rarities that are otherwise inaccessible, or accessible only in unsatisfactory editions, along with arias from the 20th-century’s “classical modernity” that are missing in traditional aria albums, usually for copyright reasons, but which have since found their way into the operatic repertoire. Thus next to the indispensable classical arias for stage auditions, this anthology contains a vast selection of arias for recitals, concerts and opera soirées with which students and professionals can let their vocal and interpretative talents shine.
The musical text of the arias is based on editions that are considered as standard in stage practice and offer the most authoritative texts. The piano parts were either newly written or revised on the basis of proven piano-vocal scores with the aim to achieve a transposition of the original sound that is as faithful to the score as possible, while remaining easy to play. Occasionally arias had to be abridged (e.g. orchestral preludes or interludes) or supplemented with practicable endings (e.g. in open arias and scenes that lead immediately into another musical section without a break).
The individual comments on the arias provide information on the composer, the librettist, the work, the range and, if deemed necessary, on peculiarities such as matters of versions or casting. Also included is a short synopsis of the contents which illuminates the basic dramatic constellation in which the respective aria is embedded in the context of the opera’s plot. Furthermore, there are methodical comments from the singer’s point of view as recommendation from someone who has both stage and academic teaching experience, incorporating valuable advice from many singer colleagues. Finally, we draw attention to two study aids for the aria texts: a “phonetics assistant” with audio files (mp3) in the original language, spoken by native speakers, as well as a “text assistant” with text files (pdf) of the German and English translations. Both are available for download at www.breitkopf.com.
We wish to extend our most cordial thanks to the Bund Deutscher Gesangspädagogen and several teachers at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hanover for rewarding professional exchanges and collegial advice. Special thanks are due to my colleague Marina Sandel, who has contributed significantly to the successful outcome of this edition with regard to the methodical comments and selection of the arias. I would also like to thank the sound engineer Dirk Austen and the speakers in the audio recording, as well as to all who helped with the translations and proofreading: Eleanor Forbes, Petra Kamlot and Isabel Sievers (English), Jutta Eckes (Italian), Sabine Wehr-Zeller (French), Diane Ackermann for her dramaturgical collaboration, Christian Beyer for the revision of the piano-vocal scores, and Christian Rudolf Riedel for his precise and expert editing, and his tireless commitment as coordinator of all who contributed to the success of the edition. We are also grateful to the publisher, Breitkopf & Härtel, without whom there would be no such collection at all.
Peter Anton Ling, Hanover, Spring 2020