The term vocal category, a distinction in the practice of opera between different types and characters of vocal registers. The vocal subjects differ both by the voices themselves, their physiological characteristics such as scale, color, volume, the singers are characterized, on the other hand in the assignment to the roles that are created in terms of these same characteristics, and their typical applications on the opera stage.

At German opera houses the name of the voting compartment in fixed engagement is usually part of the contract in dispute cases, a singer reject a so-called non-specialist game, which is also enforceable in the arbitration stage. Decisive here is the manual for the decision of the opera, the so-called " Kloiber " ( see References ).

In addition to the range of the voice on the other hand differed fundamentally the lyrical subject or the game or character roles on the one hand and the serious and dramatic subject or hero compartment. Is special agility of the voice required, one speaks of coloratura. Men also voices have sometimes considerable coloratura requirements, so you could certainly speak for example in some parts of Rossini coloratura tenor. The historic voting compartments soprano castrato or Alt- have disappeared; the corresponding parts are transposed today or sung by women or countertenors.

A clear distinction of the voting compartments is hardly possible because of the type of the actor, his stage presence and his role interpretation must be considered; the boundaries between subjects are therefore fluid and applied to only a part of the repertoire, especially on roles of the classical and romantic opera tradition.

The most common vocal subjects with an approximate vocal range and typical games


  • Boy soprano First and Second Boy in The Magic Flute by Mozart
  • Shepherd Boy in Tannhäuser by Wagner
  • Brünnhilde in Wagner's Die Walküre
  • Queen of the Night in Mozart's Magic Flute
  • Title role in Verdi's La Traviata
  • Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande
  • Elsa in Wagner's Lohengrin
  • Leonora in Verdi Il trovatore
  • Agathe from Weber's Der Freischütz
  • Marcellina in Beethoven's Fidelio
  • Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro
  • Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte
  • Gretchen in Lortzings The Poacher

Mezzo- soprano and alto

  • Dramatic Mezzo- Soprano (g- b '') Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos
  • Brangäne in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde
  • Rosina from Rossini's The Barber of Seville
  • Cherubino in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro
  • The witch / Jezibaba from Dvořák's Rusalka
  • Irmentraut from Lortzings The Armourer
  • Geneviève in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande
  • A patient in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron
  • Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night 's Dream


  • Heroic tenor (c- c'' ) Tristan in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde
  • Title role in Verdi's Otello
  • Radames in Verdi's Aida
  • Max from Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz
  • Mime from Richard Wagner's Siegfried
  • Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni
  • Nemorino in Donizetti's L' elisir d' amore
  • Pedrillo from Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio
  • Beppo in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci
  • Hyppolite in Rameau's Hippolyte et Jean -Philippe Aricie

Baritone and Bass

  • Heldenbariton (G- g ') Title role in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman
  • Title role in Verdi's Rigoletto
  • Character baritone (A -as ') Title role in Alban Berg 's Wozzeck
  • Tonio ( prologue ) in "I Pagliacchi "
  • Cavalier Baritone (A -as ') Don Giovanni in Mozart 's eponymous opera (also öffteren of basso cantante sung )
  • Title role in Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin
  • Lyric Baritone (B- a ') Title role in Rossini's The Barber of Seville
  • Valentin from Gounod's Faust
  • Serious bass ( e- f ') Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute
  • Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco
  • Character bass or bass-baritone ( F ( Gis ) - fis ' (gis ')) Title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro
  • Alberich in Wagner's Götterdämmerung
  • Basso buffo bass or game (F- fis' ) Baculus in Albert Lortzings The Poacher
  • Bartolo in Rossini's The Barber of Seville
  • Doctor in Berg's Wozzeck

Classic Italian technical terms

The Italian trade names correspond to the German not exactly, but they are in western europe for Italian opera literature quite used. Since the mezzo- soprano and baritone have emerged only in the 19th century (the term soprano is in Italy to Rossini quite common for mezzo roles ), the distinctions limited to the classical vocal ranges. Today it also differs mezzo soprano grave, centrale, acuto (heavy -, medium - and high mezzo ) and baritono drammatico and baritono cantabile (about dramatic and lyrical baritone).

  • Soprano Soprano drammatico ( spinto ) - corresponds to the dramatic soprano
  • Soprano lirico - corresponds approximately to the Teen - dramatic lyric soprano and heavier
  • Soprano leggero - includes the light lyric soprano, the lyric coloratura soprano and soubrette. Sometimes there is also the soprano di coloratura name or soprano d' agilità ( coloratura soprano).
  • Contralto assoluto
  • Mezzocontralto
  • Basso profundo - Serious Bass
  • Basso cantante - High bass; from this tray was the baritone, even some heroes sings baritone roles (eg Scarpia or villains in " The Tales of Hoffmann " )
  • Basso buffo - Play Bass