Opera Arias for the 20-Something Soprano: Lyric Soprano

Opera Arias for the 20-Something Soprano: Part 1: Lyric-Coloratura, can be found HERE.

It is true that there are many different kinds of lyric soprano fachs, and there’s much that’s been written about them. The purpose of this post is to suggest arias for post-graduate studies for lyric sopranos that are a bit off the beaten path, but developmentally appropriate. Perhaps they can also help make you memorable because not every other soprano is singing them.

Take a look at either of “Birdie’s Aria’s” from Marc Blitzstein’s opera Regina. I have never understood why these arias are not sung more often and they were staples in my audition repertoire for many years. I was able to use them from my late 20’s through my mid 40’s!

“Marie’s Lullaby” from Berg’s opera Wozzeck. If you are good interpreting 20th century tonalities and have a range from high B-flat to low G, this aria may be a winner for you. It is intense, even sexy, and both rhythmic and strung out.

“Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben” from Mozart’s Zaide. Totally naked, gorgeous and exposed like “Ach, Ich Fuhl’s,” but those auditioning you won’t be sick of it. It is long, so prepare a cut version and ask which versions the judges want to hear.

There are 4 arias sung by Silvia in Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba, several with wonderful coloratura passages. These are not as well known as other Mozart standards but are just as lovely.

“Elle a fui, la tourterelle!” from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman is a French option. This beautiful aria is much easier to sing with a good orchestra buoying you along than the piano reduction. No matter how good your pianist, you simply HAVE to imagine a fine opera orchestra and conductor supporting you and the aria soars. Enjoy Barbara Hendricks singing it HERE.

And if you are looking for an Italian aria to have in your audition book, but want to make sure you are not compared to every other Mimi or Musetta on the planet, take a look at “Come in quest’ora bruna” from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. This aria was recommended to me by the late Maestro Randolf Mauldin of The Washington Opera when I coached with him back in the day. Here’s Te Kanewa singing it at The Met.

Training ground for all kinds of sopranoi should include Nordic art song, as far as I am concerned. There is a reason Kirsten Flagstad and other Wagnerian singers cut their teeth on this awesome repertoire. Don’t let the language stop you!


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