Acoustic enhancement
A subtle type of sound reinforcement system made to redirect and enhance sound in a space.
A self-contained song in an opera or oratorio sung by a solo singer and usually accompanied by an orchestra.
Aria di sorbetto
Also known as a sherbet aria, this 19th century Italian aria was meant to be sung while vendors sold food.
Sung between the recit and the aria.
Azione teatrale
A genre of Italian opera in late 17th and early 18th centuries, typically one act and performed in small aristocratic settings.
A type of male voice lying between bass and tenor, range A2 to F4.
F2 – E4, lowest male voice.
A high bass with clear low resonance, sings some Wagnerian roles.
Bel canto
An Italian style of vocal technique focusing on evenness throughout the voice.
Breeches role
Pants role, in which a woman plays a man.
Burlesque refers to theatrical entertainment of broad and parodic humor, which usually consists of comic skits (and sometimes a strip tease).
A brief comic opera, also sometimes used to refer to the intermezzo between two acts of an opera seria.
CNN opera
Derogatory term given to new operas dealing with headline news events, or new settings of old operas incorporating that idea.
A Cabaletta is form of aria within 19th century Italian opera. It usually refers specifically to the second half of a double aria: a faster or more rhythmic movement following a cantabile section, nowadays often referred to as the cavatina.
In music, a cadenza (Italian for cadence) is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a “free” rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display.
Song-like, or the first part of a double aria (followed by the cabaletta).
Castrated male singer
A simple, melodious air in an opera or oratorio, simpler than an aria.
Chest voice
The vocal register used in normal speech.
Professional clappers
Elaborate ornamentation, or particularly agile voices.
Coloratura soprano
Sopranos specializing in music containing agile leaps and runs.
Comic opera
Light, comic operatic works with happy endings.
Supporting role in an opera, or the singers who specialize in such roles.
Comedie melee d’ariettes
18th century French comic opera
Concert aria
Self-contained work accompanied by orchestra for solo singer meant for concert performance, not part of an opera.
The lowest female voice, G3 to G5.
Literally conveniences, these were the rules relating to the ranking of singers (primo, secondo, comprimario) in 19th-century Italian opera, and the number of scenes, arias etc. that they were entitled to expect.
Adult male who sings like a girl.
Coup de glotte
Singing technique which incorporates hard glottal attacks to start the voice.
Da capo aria
Ternary baroque aria
Celebrated female singer
Dramatic soprano
Lower soprano with lots of core and lots of power that can sing over an orchestra.
Dramma giocoso
Genre of opera attributed to Mozart in the mid-18t century.
Electronic libretto
System of projecting supertitles.
Music between acts of an opera.
German system of classifying singers by vocal range, weight, and timbre.
The term falsetto (Italian diminutive of falso, false) refers to the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping with it by approximately one octave.
A genre of opera associated with Venice in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, one act.
Flowery, embellished vocal line.
Term attributed to Wagner, meaning an opera that incorporates music, theatre, and visual arts.
Grand Opera
19th century serious 4 or 5 act opera with full orchestra.
Genero chico
Subform of zarzuela, like a soap opera.
Rare very high tenor voice predominant in baroque and classical music.
Head voice
Above middle register in women, above chest register in men.
Comic musical interlude in opera seria performed between acts.
Literally chamber singer, it is a German title of honor for singers.
Smooth and connected singing or playing.
Recurring musical theme associated with a specific character or idea.
The text of an opera.
Opera with music composed for a pre-existing text instead of having a libretto composed specifically for the opera.
Lyric soprano
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A lyric soprano is a type of operatic soprano that has a warm quality with a bright, full timbre which can be heard over an orchestra. C4 to D6

Mad scene
Enactment of insanity in opera.
Teacher or master, usually the conductor.
Form of courtly entertainment involving singing, dancing, acting. 16th century Europe.
Music is used to enhance the audience’s response to the drama. Often music played underneath spoken drama.
Italian libretto, or another word for opera used by the Italians.
Messa di voce
Gradual crescendo and decrescendo.
Range between contralto and soprano, A3 to A5.
Money note
Vocal moment that causes the audience to take notice. Often a high note.
Opera with one role.
One person talking or singing for a long time with no other characters doing anything interesting.
Opera buffa
Italian comic operas
Opera house
Theatre meant for opera.
Opera seria
Italian noble or serious opera.
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter.
Opera bouffe
French 19th century operetta.
Opera bouffon
French name for opera buffa.
Opera comique
French genre of opera that contains spoken dialogue.
Popular during the French baroque era.
Parsifal bell
Bell used as a substitute for church bells in Wagner’s Parsifal.
Pitches where the voice transitions to a new register.
Pastorale heroique
Pastorale heroique is a genre of French Baroque opera.
Sliding between two pitches.
Prima donna
First lady, lead female singer in an opera company.
Style of delivery in which the singer can adopt the rhythmic patterns of normal speech.
Director can change the composer’s given stage directions, etc, to present the opera in a new way.
In music, a register is the relative “height” or range of a note, set of pitches or pitch classes, melody, part, instrument or group of instruments.
Rescue opera
19th century operas dealing with the rescue of the main character, such as Fidelio.
In Baroque music, ritornello was the word for a recurring passage for orchestra in the first or final movement of a solo concerto or aria (also in works for chorus).
Romantische Oper
Nineteenth century German opera.
In opera, repetiteur is the name given to the person responsible for coaching singers and playing the piano for music and production rehearsals.
Early form of opera developed in England, associated with Purcell.
German form of music-drama in which text is spoken dramatically over music.
Sing-thru with orchestra designed to bring together the two groups.
Adult male soprano
Highest female voice, C4 to C6.
Soprano sfogato
In the art of singing, the term “soprano sfogato” designates a singer (contralto or mezzo soprano) capable of by sheer industry or natural talent to extend her upper range and be able to encompass the coloratura soprano tessitura.
In classical music and opera, the term soubrette refers to both a soprano voice type and a particular type of opera role. A soubrette voice is light with a bright, sweet timbre, a tessitura in the mid-range, and with no extensive coloratura.
Tenors or sopranos with the ability to sing with lots of drama and core, sing over orchestra.
Sprechstimme or sprechgesang
Between singing and speaking, German.
Italian word for “ring”, resonance.
Organizational method of presenting opera, often used by large companies.