A dramatic coloratura soprano has great power and intensity in the upper register, as well as the ability to sing complex cadenzas with agility and speed. Her timber is full and dark, and she can sustain notes in the 6th octave with ease. This Fach requires tremendous acting and an imposing stage presence.
Just like the lyric coloratura, the dramatic coloratura is expected to be able to sing anywhere between a C4 and an F6, though she occasionally takes the liberty to include a G6 and showcase her skill.
Real dramatic coloraturas, as opposed to lyric coloraturas singing dramatic roles, are by nature rare. In order to have a dark timber, vocal folds need to be thick. On the other hand, in order to have the agility to sing cadenzas, vocal folds need to be flexible. As you understand, these two characteristics are hard to coexist, and therefore the women who happen to have both and by chance decide to learn how to sing, are very lucky.
If they happen to be good in acting, they are even luckier as dramatic coloraturas are usually casted in the roles of tragic heroines who usually die at the end of the opera or intense characters who seek revenge. Of all the voice types, they are the ones who will give you chills every single time you hear them sing.
Maria Callas, the most renowned opera singer of the 20th century was a dramatic coloratura and one could say that just like the heroines she portrayed, her life was full of glamour but, also, tragedy. 35 years have passed since her death on September 26th 1977, but the world still remembers her as La Divina, the devine, and the voice of perfect imperfections.
In the following video, Callas transforms into Norma and sings the best Casta Diva I’ve heard so far.
Examples of Dramatic Coloratura Arias
|Casta Diva||Norma||Norma||Vincenzo Bellini|
|Regnava Nel Silenzio||Lucia||Lucia di Lammermoor||Gaetano Donizetti|
|Martern Aller Artern||Konstanze||Die Entführung aus dem Serail||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
|O Zittre Nicht, Mein Lieber Sohn||The Queen of the Night||Die Zauberflöte||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
|Der Holle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen||The Queen of the Night||Die Zauberflöte||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
Dramatic Coloratura Roles
|The Prima Donna/Ariadne||Ariadne auf Naxos||Richard Strauss|
|Marina Mnishek||Boris Godunov||Modest Mussorgsky|
|Senta||Der Fliegende Holländer||Richard Wagner|
|Third Norn||Die Götterdämmerung||Richard Wagner|
|Brünnhilde||Die Götterdämmerung||Richard Wagner|
|Gutrune||Die Götterdämmerung||Richard Wagner|
|Eva||Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg||Richard Wagner|
|Sieglinde||Die Walküre||Richard Wagner|
|Brünnhilde||Die Walküre||Richard Wagner|
|Elektra (Electra)||Elektra||Richard Strauss|
|Leonora||Fidelio||Ludwig van Beethoven|
|La Gioconda||La Gioconda||Amilcare Ponchielli|
|Chimène||Le Cid||Jules Massenet|
|Cassandre||Les Troyens||Hector Berlioz|
|Elsa of Brabant||Lohengrin||Richard Wagner|
|Lucrezia Borgia||Lucrezia Borgia||Gaetano Donizetti|
|Médée (Medea)||Médée (Medea)||Luigi Cherubini|
|Leonora||Oberto Conte di San Bonifacio||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Princess Yaroslavna||Prince Igor||Alexander Borodin|
|Annina||The Saint of Bleecker Street||Gian-Carlo Menotti|
|Isolde||Tristan und Isolde||Richard Wagner|
|Amelia||Un Ballo in Maschera||Giuseppe Verdi|