Performed by Betti Nagy.
Uploaded by David Solomons.
Aria of the Week #155: "Dawn in the Room" by D. W. Solomons.
Performed by Betti Nagy.
Uploaded by David Solomons.
Hello everyone! I hope you are all keeping safe and well. As I am now working from home for the foreseeable future, I have an extra three hours in my day (no more commuting for a while) to spend on things like the Contralto Corner!
The Latest addition to this page is Contralto Biljana Kovac. Biljana has an incredible chest register, extending well into the Baritone realm, as can be seen in the video below, where she drops down to a cavernous Bb2 in "Pour une femme de mon nom."
Check out her Main Page, Articles Page, and her YouTube Videos Page (especially the Kurt Weill piece).
Aria of the Week #154: "Lullaby" by G. C. Menotti.
Performed by Angela Christine Smith.
Uploaded by Angela Christine Smith.
Aria of the Week #153: "Weiche, Wotan, weiche!" by R. Wagner
Performed by Meredith Arwady.
Score: IMSLP (pg 187 of score, pg 193 of viewer).
Uploaded by Terje Stensvold - Topic.
Aria of the Week #152: "Una voce poco fa" by G. Rossini
Performed by Avery Amereau.
Score: IMSLP (pg 82 of score, pg 88 of viewer).
Uploaded by Alessandro Mazzocchetti.
Aria of the Week #151: "He was Despised" by G.F. Handel
Performed by Hilary Summers.
Uploaded by Cambridge Brandenburg Consort - Topic.
Aria of the Week #150: "Nel silenzio di quei raccoglimenti" by G. Puccini
Performed by Sharmay Musacchio.
Uploaded by Sharmay Musacchio.
Aria of the Week #149: "Auf dem Flusse" by F. Schubert (Winterreise)
Performed by Birgit Breidenbach.
Score: IMSLP (pg 136 of score, pg 27 of viewer).
Uploaded by Birgit Breidenbach.
A Wonderful Addition to the Contralto Repertoire: "Of That So Sweet Imprisonment" A Song Cycle by Composer Juliana Hall
Prolific American art song composer Juliana Hall has composed a new song cycle for the Contralto voice. Titled Of The So Sweet Imprisonment, the cycle is set to seven poems from James Joyce's early book of poems, "Chamber Music." Hall says of the poems that make up the song cycle:
"There is a gentle narrative from the first to the last poem, following love (Orpheus perhaps) to the speaker’s desire to find her love, a declaration of wanting to be “imprisoned” by this love, a longing to be in a special place of love, a movement away from being a girl towards becoming a woman, a scene of harp music celebrating love (heaven perhaps), and finally a simple scene of lovers being together forever in a place special to them – all of which promised to elucidate Joyce’s beautiful vision of human love through the exquisite prism of the textures and colors of the contralto voice."
When Hall approached Mezzo Soprano Stephanie Blythe and asked if she could write her a song cycle, Blythe responded immediately: "YES!" She added:
“All I ask is that you consider writing the piece for the contralto voice. It is where I live so happily now, and there is just not enough out there for this particular voice type.”
The result was this haunting and mesmerising series of sings which reach deep into the soul, conjuring a deep and complex emotional response from the listener. It is a wonderful addition to the Contralto repertoire, and we are thankful to Hall for her creative magic, and Blythe for her suggestion to compose for the Contralto voice.
Blythe's masterful delivery of Hall's haunting music can be heard in the video below. Copies can be ordered (and previews seen) by clicking here.
Each year I repost the links to these articles written by David L. Jones, The Voice Teacher. David has developed an international career as author, vocal pedagogue, and teacher of singers and teachers in Europe and the U.S. His website, www.voiceteacher.com, contains articles based on the concepts of the Swedish-Italian Singing School.
Many voice teachers do not believe the Contralto voice exits anymore, so it's great that David is a keen supporter of the Contralto voice, answering sentiments such as "There are no contraltos these days!" with the response that "it is a valid vocal category and it needs to be known that it IS a true vocal fach and DOES exist!"
Many Opera Houses and Concert venues regularly bill Contraltos as Mezzo Sopranos, calling them "true Mezzos" as a code for a Contralto timbre, without admitting that the voice type exists. Yet David has worked with many Contraltos over the years, helping those who have been trained in the wrong fach to find their true potential and individual beauty of expression. David's work is so incredibly important, as he helps heal the damage done through incorrect vocal classification, which has left many singers feeling hopeless and with very real vocal issues.
He educates students and teachers alike through his Masterclasses and his literature, and he also shares his knowledge and his professional insights through his website and his Facebook Page, The David Jones Voice Studio. Many singers, and many Contraltos, have found their way back to health and to the joy of singing through David's help and guidance. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
David has very kindly agreed to allow me to host the following articles on the Contralto Corner website:
Training the Contralto Voice
Types of Contraltos
On the Contralto Singer
A Little More on the Contralto
Unusual Vocal Characteristics
You can also check out further information at the Resources Page of the Contralto Corner website.