Friday, April 9, 2010

A response to the mezzo vs. soprano question!

Another question:
Hi - I have a difficult situation...I have been told by my voice teachers that I am a high mezzo-soprano, yet when i've been auditioning around for mezzo roles in small, local opera companies, I have been given feedback regarding my voice as a soprano. (I'm 27.) My teachers are professionals and scoff at this feedback. I feel that I am "in-between"...what types of roles (if any?) should I be auditioning for? It seems I should sing what shows my voice off...and maybe wait for the lower range to keep developing? My low range is fairly solid, but I always get comments on how clear and high the top is. Any advice would be appreciated!

This is always a problem for lyric mezzos - at this point, since your teachers and coaches are hearing you every day, I would stick to your guns. Here's the reality that a lot of people do not want to admit: "Voice type" is not really a physiological reality but rather a label designator that isn't written in stone. Sometimes it's determined by comfort level with tessitura, sometimes it is color, sometimes it's choice and sometimes it changes. But there is plenty of zwischenfach (in between) rep out there - so, if you're singing Cherubino, Stephano, Siebel, etc. you are certainly not hurting yourself even if you ultimately move up.
If you continue to sing a lot of auditions where the feedback is always that folks think you're more of a soprano than a mezzo, it might be worth revisiting at that point.

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