Tickets are available here.
Photo by Anna Thorbjörnsson.
Tomorrow evening, and again on 25th, Anna Larsson will continue her portrayal of the fearsome Klytemnestra at the Wiener Staatsoper. Anna's statuesque and imposing stage presence, coupled with her stentorian contralto tones, are perfect for showing why this role is not just a character role of old sopranos! Don't miss your chance to hear Anna perform.
Tickets are available here.
Photo by Anna Thorbjörnsson.
Starting on Friday 13th November, Helena Rasker takes on the role of Erna in Georg Friedrich Haas’s Morgen und Abend (Morning and Evening), a new commission for The Royal Opera. The Opera is based on a novel by Jon Fosse and directed by Graham Vick. Georg Fredrich Haas is best known in the UK for his instrumental work in vain, acclaimed by Simon Rattle as ‘an acknowledged masterpiece of the 21st century’.
Tickets go on general sale on 14 July 2015.
From Thursday 25th February 2016, Anna Larsson reprises the role of Zia Principessa from Puccini's Sour Angelica, perfomed as part of the composer's triple bill Il Trittico. Larsson performed the role magnificently in 2011, moving from resolute self-composure to agitated insecurity as the confrontation scene progressed. Her return to the ROH stage is sure to be a highlight of the new season.
Keep a look out for tickets for the opening night here.
La Fura dels Baus’s production of Enescu’s rarely performed Œdipe features two Contraltos: Claudia Huckle in the role of Mérope, and the French-Canadian Marie-Nicole Lemieux as The Sphinx. Huckle, a Birgit Nilsson Prize Winner from the 2013 Operalia Conpetition, made her debut at the Royal Opera House this season in the role of Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Lemieiux makes her debut in this production Œdipe as The Sphinx.
Performances start on Monday 23 May 2016.
Exciting news as four Contraltos have been engaged to perform in the 2015-16 season at the Royal Opera House.
This week the 100th Contralto Profile was added to the Profiles Section of the Contralto Corner.
I would like to thank all the fans of the Contralto voice who support this website, and the Contraltos themselves, who sing so beautifully for us.
The Contraltos listed there are from all categories (Coloratura, Lyric, Mid-Weight, Dramatic, Profondo and Basso) and from all stages of career (historical, current, and up-and-coming).
To celebrate this milestone, I have pulled together a sample of ten arias and scenes which, for me, showcase the Contralto voice in all its glory.
I hope you enjoy listening to them!
All the best,
Hello everybody. Having seen quite a few contraltos in concert recently, I thought I would post a few lovely voices that are capable of reaching those wonderful tones below F3. All of these lovely ladies have full and powerful lower registers, and it is a pleasure to listen to them. Most of the very low notes are at the end of the videos, but where possible I have put in a time reference for at lease one of the notes in each video. I hope you enjoy them. Oh, and if you know of other videos with ladies hitting notes below F3, why not pop them in a message at the end of this post.
The first video comes courtesy of the great British contralto Dame Clara Butt. The song is The Enchantress, by J. Hatton, and in it she hits a wonderful E3 at 0:52.
Next up we have the Swedish contralto Anna Larsson, singing the role of Daphne's mother, Gaea, in Richard Strauss' opera Daphne. In it she hits an Eb3 a number of times, but a good example is at 2:18.
Giving us a fantastic D3 is American contralto Marian Anderson, singing the song Der Tod und das Mädchen, by F. Schubert. It happens at 2:15.
To guide us by the hand in to the realm of the contralto profundo is the Venetian contralto Sara Mingardo. In an interpolated ornament at the end of "Fac ut Portem" from the Stabat Mater by G Pergolesi, she saunters down to a stunning Db3! The ornament starts at 4:01.
The holy grail has been reached! Swiss contralto Ursula Ferri gives us a rock solid C3 (contralto bottom C) in the song "No,no, non si speri", by Carissimi. It happens at 5:41.
But to take us into the realms of the baritone, we can only rely on the force of nature that is Polish contralto Ewa Podleś. In "Pour Une Femme De Mon Nom" from La Fille Du Régiment, by G. Donizetti, she hits an interolated A#2: yes, that's right, A#2, at 0:39. All hail the contralto profundo! But wait, it's not over yet...
Back in the early to mid 1700's, Antonio Vivaldi was in charge of an institution known as the Ospedali Pietà, which housed abandoned and unwanted babies. For those female children that stayed in the Ospedali, those with musical potential could join the Figlie di Choro (musicians), the élite of the Pietà. The chorus was all female, with known contraltos and female tenors, and also female basses, like the famed Anna dal Basso.
In this excerpt from the "Vivaldi's Women - Gloria" DVD, Margaret Jackson-Roberts sings the bass role in the "Gloria Patri" from Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus, in which she sings multpile A2's. A nice long-held A2 comes at 1:23. Margaret states that she can sing "down to F below the [bass] stave ... and ... down to C below the [bass] stave on a good day." Wow! Go Margaret!
I hope you enjoyed this trip into the contralto depths. Until the next time! James.
Now, this is one of my favourite pieces. It has had many famous renditions, from sopranos such as Maria Callas and Jessye Norman, through a plethora of Mezzos, to a few countertenors. Even the alternative rock band Muse sampled it in the song "I Belong To You / Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" from their symphonic rock album The Resistance.
But for me it is the Contralto voice that has that husky darkness capable of seduce the Biblical hero Samson. Recordings by artists such as Dame Clara Butt and Marian Anderson exist, and have their own power, but this wonderfully understated performance by Anna Larsson is possibly the most touching I have heard. I hope you enjoy listening.
Dame Clara Butt
Angela Christine Smith