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Subject: Re: Categorizing Baritones
From: william kasimer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:william kasimer <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 30 Mar 2005 11:05:52 -0500

text/plain (43 lines)

Bill Fregosi writes:

>>baritone is a baritone by virtue of range, tessitura, and technique, and
>>suitable or unsuitable for a specific role based upon vocal size, vocal
>>color, and stylistic considerations.
>But that could be said of the singers in any vocal range, actually,
>unless I'm failing to get Bill's point.

No, that's exactly right.  I'm not a fan of such voice categorization in

>there are some
>particular categories that are in common usage.  In French parlance I
>have seen "baryton martin," the male equivalent of "falcon" more or
>less, and "baryton noble."  In German, "Kavalierbariton" and
>"Heldenbariton."  These categories don't seem particularly
>arbitrary--Guglielmo in COSI would be the former these days
>(originally he was almost a bass), Amfortas the latter.

Right, but these are categorization of ROLES rather than of voices.  I
suppose that it makes some sense for opera companies to categorize roles in
this fashion (as I recall, this is the main function of "fach" in European
houses), but it makes little sense to categorize singers in this way.  In
fact, the way I most commonly see such categories used is "Oh, singer X
isn't any good in that role, he's not a dramatic baritone (or whatever)",
as though that statement should be sufficient to disqualify a particular
singer for a particular role.

>Do we NEED more categories?

Unless you and I are planning to run an opera house (hmmmm....), I am not
convinced that we need ANY such categories.


William D. Kasimer
[log in to unmask]

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