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Lyric soprano

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Title: Lyric soprano  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Opera, Arianna Zukerman, Andrea Rost, Danielle de Niese, Spinto soprano
Collection: Opera Terminology, Operatic Sopranos, Voice Types
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lyric soprano

A lyric soprano is a type of operatic soprano that has a warm quality with a bright, full timbre that can be heard over an orchestra. The lyric soprano voice generally has a higher tessitura than a soubrette and usually plays ingenues and other sympathetic characters in opera. Lyric sopranos have a range from approximately middle C (C4) to "high D" (D6).[1] This is the most common female singing voice.[2] There is a tendency to divide lyric sopranos into two groups, light and full.[3]


  • Light lyric soprano 1
    • Light lyric sopranos 1.1
    • Light lyric soprano roles 1.2
  • Full lyric soprano 2
    • Full lyric sopranos 2.1
    • Full lyric soprano roles 2.2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4

Light lyric soprano

A light-lyric soprano has a bigger voice than a soubrette but still possesses a youthful quality.[4] There are a wide variety of roles written for this voice, and they may sing soubrette, baroque and other light roles as well.[5]

Light lyric sopranos

Light lyric soprano roles


Full lyric soprano

A full-lyric soprano has a more mature sound than a light-lyric soprano and can be heard over a bigger orchestra.[4] This more mature sound may make a full-lyric less suitable for some of the lighter roles. Occasionally a full lyric will have a big enough voice that she can take on much heavier roles, using volume in place of vocal weight. This is done when a more lyric timbre is desired in an otherwise heavier role. Otherwise full lyric sopranos need be judicious with spinto and other heavy roles to prevent vocal deterioration.[1][6]

Full lyric sopranos

Full lyric soprano roles




  1. ^ a b Coffin (1960)
  2. ^ Aronson (2009), p. 278
  3. ^ a b c Boldrey (1994), Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias
  4. ^ a b Nashville Opera
  5. ^ Boldrey (1992), Singer's Edition (Light Lyric Soprano)
  6. ^ "Full lyric soprano" example: Contessa: "Dove sono" on YouTube from The Marriage of Figaro by Renée Fleming, Metropolitan Opera 1998


  • Aronson, Arnold Elvin; Bless, Diane M. (2009). Clinical Voice Disorders (4th ed.). New York, NY:  
  • Boldrey, Richard (1994). Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias. Caldwell Publishing Company.  
  • Boldrey, Richard; Robert Caldwell, Werner Singer, Joan Wall and Roger Pines (1992). Singer's Edition (Light Lyric Soprano): Operatic Arias - Light Lyric Soprano. Caldwell Publishing Company.  
  • Coffin, Berton (1960). Coloratura, Lyric and Dramatic Soprano, Vol. 1. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.  

Further reading

  • Boldrey, Richard; Robert Caldwell, Werner Singer, Joan Wall and Roger Pines (1992). Singer's Edition (Soubrette): Operatic Arias - Soubrette. Caldwell Publishing Company.  
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