A dramatic soprano is a type of operatic soprano with a powerful, rich, emotive voice that can sing over, or cut through, a full orchestra. Thicker vocal folds in dramatic voices usually (but not always) mean less agility than lighter voices but a sustained, fuller sound. Usually this voice has a lower tessitura than other sopranos, and a darker timbre. They are often used for heroic, often long-suffering, tragic women of opera. Dramatic sopranos have a range from approximately middle C (C4) to "high D" (D6). Some dramatic sopranos, known as Wagnerian sopranos, have an exceptionally big voice that can assert itself over a large orchestra (of more than 80 or even 100 pieces). These voices are substantial, often denser in tone, extremely powerful and, ideally, evenly balanced throughout the vocal registers. Wagnerian sopranos usually play mythic heroines. Successful Wagnerian sopranos are rare and often Wagnerian roles are performed by Italianate dramatic sopranos.
Dramatic soprano singers
Wagnerian soprano singers
Listen and compare
- Dramatic soprano on YouTube, Jessye Norman in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos
- Wagnerian soprano on YouTube, Birgit Nilsson as Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung
- Coffin (1960)
- Boldrey (1994)