A young dramatic soprano is widely known as a spinto. She is a youthful soprano whose voice hasn’t matured yet but is still very powerful and has great volume. Despite her young age, a spinto is capable of long lyric phrases and can be heard easily over a full orchestra.
Her vocal range extends from a C4 to a C6 and her difference with the other sopranos is that she has to sustain long and intense notes both in her middle and upper register.
Although the word spinto means “pushed” in Italian, it doesn’t describe the vocal challenges that a soprano spinto will have to overcome. The only pushing that she will have to endure is the pushing around of her heroines by villains and lovers alike. As a consequence of the hardships they have to go through, the heroines she embodies usually commit suicide at the end of the opera.
Since she’s on her way to becoming a full dramatic soprano or a Wagnerian, a spinto soprano has to master long dialogues and recitative. Often she is trained in good diction in German and Italian and mastering the former can play a major role in her career.
The spinto or young dramatic soprano is one of the most interesting categories to belong to because of the breadth of roles you can be casted into. Having said that, it’s, also, among the most physically, vocally, and emotionally demanding and tiresome fachs.
One of the most celebrated spintos of all times is the magnificent Leontyne Price, one of the first African American opera singers to become a leading lady at the Metropolitan Opera. Price, who was known for her seductive power, debuted at the Met on January 27th, 1961. She made such an impression that by March of the same year, she was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine.
Here’s Leontyne Price as Adriana Lecouvreur singing “Io Son l’Umile Ancella,” the aria that captures the essence of all opera singers.
Examples of Spinto Soprano Arias
|Io Son l’Umile Ancella||Adriana Lecouvreur||Adriana Lecouvreur||Francesco Cilèa|
|Un Bel Dì Vedremo,||Cio-Cio San||Madama Butterfly||Giacomo Puccini|
|Voi Lo Sapete||Santuzza||Cavalleria Rusticana||Pietro Mascagni|
|Einsam In Trüben Tagen||Elsa of Brabant||Lohengrin||Wilhelm Richard Wagner|
|Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku||Rusalka||Rusalka||Antonín Dvořák|
Spinto Soprano Roles
|Princess Yaroslavna||Prince Igor||Alexander Borodin|
|Lady Billows||Albert Herring||Benjamin Britten|
|La Wally||La Wally||Alfredo Catalani|
|Adriana Lecouvreur||Adriana Lecouvreur||Francesco Cilèa|
|Bess||Porgy and Bess||George Gershwin|
|Serena||Porgy and Bess||George Gershwin|
|Princess Fedora Romanov||Fedora||Umberto Giordano|
|Marietta||Die Tote Stadt||Erich Korngold|
|Santuzza||Cavalleria Rusticana||Pietro Mascagni|
|Magda Sorel||The Consul||Gian-Carlo Menotti|
|Minnie||La Fanciulla del West||Giacomo Puccini|
|Madame Butterfly||Madama Butterfly||Giacomo Puccini|
|Manon Lescaut||Manon Lescaut||Giacomo Puccini|
|Giorgetta||Il Tabarro||Giacomo Puccini|
|Floria Tosca||Tosca||Giacomo Puccini|
|The Marschallin||Der Rosenkavalier||Richard Strauss|
|Elisabeth of Valois||Don Carlos||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Alice Ford||Falstaff||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Leonora||La Forza del Destino||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Lucrezia Contarini||I Due Foscari||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Giselda||I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Viclinda||I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Maria Boccanegra (Amelia)||Simon Boccanegra||Giuseppe Verdi|
|Freia||Das Rheingold||Richard Wagner|
|Wellgunde||Das Rheingold||Richard Wagner|
|Woglinde||Das Rheingold||Richard Wagner|
|Ortlinde||Die Walküre||Richard Wagner|