Vocal virtuosity : the origins of the coloratura soprano in nineteenth-century opera /

Publication Type:



Oxford University Press,, New York, NY, United States; Oxford, United Kingdom, p.1 online resource (xv, 301 pages) : (2021)

Call Number:





(OCoLC)fst00908309, (OCoLC)fst01046145, (OCoLC)fst01119311, (OCoLC)fst01126730, 19th century., Embellishment (Vocal music), fast, History, Opera, Opera., Singing, Singing., Sopranos (Singers)


Includes bibliographical references and index.Introduction: Coloratura and female vocality -- The new Franco-Italian school of singing -- Verdi and the end of Italian coloratura -- Melismatic madness and technology -- Caroline Carvalho and her world -- Carvalho, Gounod, and the waltz -- Vestiges of virtuosity : the French coloratura soprano -- Epilogue: Unending coloratura."Vocal Virtuosity is a book about the apex of operatic vocalism. Nothing strikes the ear quite like a soprano singing in the sonic stratosphere. Whether thrilling, chilling, or repellent to the listener, the reaction to cascades of coloratura with climaxing high notes is strong. Coloratura-agile, rapid-fire singing-was originally essential for all singers, but its function changed greatly when it became the specialty of particular sopranos over the course of the nineteenth century. The central argument of Vocal Virtuosity runs counter to the historical commonplace that coloratura became an anachronism in nineteenth-century opera. Instead, the book demonstrates that melismas at mid-century were made modern. Coloratura became an increasingly marked musical gesture during the century with a correspondingly more specific dramaturgical function. In exploring this transformation, Parr's research reveals the instigators of this change in vocal practice and the perpetuators of the art of coloratura. Vocal Virtuosity examines the historical traces of Parisian singers who were the period's greatest exponents of vertiginous vocality as archetypes of the modern coloratura soprano. The book also explores what melismas can signify in operatic performance while constructing the historical trajectory of coloratura as it became gendered the provenance of the female singer. In arguing that vocal virtuosity was a source of power for women, generating space for female authorship and creativity, the book reclaims a place in history for the coloratura soprano"--Description based on online resource; title from digital title page (Oxford Scholarship Online, viewed September 17, 2021).