Bass Arias

Buffo-bass

Heavy buffo

Bass-baritone

Basso Cantabile

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THE BASS VOICE

 

With the possible exception of the Baßbuffo, there is no such thing as a lyric or dramatic classification for the bass voice. The true Italian buffo, the German Spielbaß, has a somewhat lighter voice than the other basses but still must produce a considerable amount of sound as he must sing the lowest voice in ensembles. He must have excellent German and be a flexible actor. The difference between the Baßbuffo and the Schwerer Spielbaß is size: size of voice, range and body. The voice of the Schwerer Spielbaß has a rougher black sound with an easily carrying bottom range. This Fach is dominated by German singers as the Schwerer Spielbaß is as much a physical type as a vocal one. The Charakterbaß is generally sung by the singer who doesn't fit into either the serious bass or buffo Fachs. More often than not he possesses the true Italian basso cantante sound but lacks the physical size and metallic ring demanded of the German Seriöserbaß voice. The Seriöserbaß himself must have a large voice with a dark rough quality that lends itself to German declamation.

 

Those arias most often heard in German Theater auditions are marked with *. Those arias heard in audition but not normally sung by the singer of this Fach in the opera house are given in parenthesis.

 

 

SPIELBAß/BAßBUFFO (E to f')

Buffo-bass

 

A smaller, flexible and expressive voice and an excellent actor.

 

Within the category of Spielbaß there is a division made on consideration of both physical and vocal size. The Spielbaß; or Bassbuffo is the true Italian buffo. The voice is less massive and flexible in both characterization ability and speed of patter. He must be an excellent actor and have very good German. The classic roles of the Italian literature are his: Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Bartolo in Der Barbier von Sevilla, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Dulcamara in L'elisire d'amore, and the title role in Don Pasquale. In the German repertoire he has the thankful roles of Baculus in Der Wildschütz, Truffaldin in Ariadne aus Naxos and, if his voice is high enough, the Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Singers: Fernando Corena, Enzo Dara, Beno Cusche
Example: Enzo Dara, La Cenerentola

Don Bartolo

* Der Barbier von Sevilla

A un dottor della mia sorte

(Figaro)

* Figaros Hochqeit

All three arias

Leporello

* Don Giovanni

Register-arie (Catalogue Aria)

Beckmesser

* Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Ständchen from the 2nd act

Pasquale

* Don Pasquale

Ah, un foco insolito

Baculus

* Der Wildschütz

Fünf Tausand Taler

 

 

 

Don Magnifico

La Cenerentola

Miei rampolli femminini

Dulcamara

Der Liebestrank (L'elisir d'amor)

Udite, udite, o rustici


 

SCHWERER SPIELBAß (C to f')

Heavy buffo

 

A large voice with an extended range, imposing physical appearance, with good comic acting abilities.

 

The singer who sings the repertoire of the Schwerer Spielbaß must above all be large in voice and body. The true test of the heavy buffo voice are the roles of Falstaff in Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier. He must possess a great comic flair for such roles as Kezal in Die verkaufte Braut and van Bett in Zar und Zimmermann and the ability of fine characterization in the roles of Basilio in Der Barbier von Sevilla and Colline in La Bohème. His German repertoire contains the roles of Daland in Der fliegenden Holländer and Caspar in Der Freischütz. This is a typical German Fach which very much rests on physical type and vocal power.

Singers: Alexander Kipnis, Kurt Böhme, Gottlob Frick, Karl Ritterbusch, Kurt Moll

Examples: Gottlob Frick; Kurt Böhme, Der Freischütz

 

Compare the lighter Spielbaß with the Seriöserbaß

Basilio

* Der Barbier von Sevilla

Verleundung-Arie (La calunnia è un venticello)

Osmin

* Die Entführung aus dem Serail

All three arias

Kaspar

* Der Freischütz

Hier im ird'schen Jammertal
Schweig, sehweig

Daland

* Der fliegenden Holländer

Mögst du mein Kind

Falstaff

* Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor

Trinklied (Als Büblein kein an der Mutter Brust)

Ochs

* Der Rosenkavalier

Macht das einen lamen Esel aus mir? / Da leg'ich

Kezal

* Die verkaufte Braut

Wer in Lieb' entbrannt

van Bett

* Zar und Zimmermann

O sancta justitia

 

 

 

Rocco

Fidelio

Gold-Arie (Hat man nicht auch Gold daneben)

Méphistophélès

Margarethe (Faust)

Le veau d'or / Ständchen (Vous qui faites l'endormie)

Plumkett

Martha

Laßt mich euch fragen

 

 

CHARAKTERBAß/BAßBARITON (E to f')

Bass-baritone

 

A large voice with an extended range and a fine characterizations ability.

 

The bass-baritone voice in the German theater is what one thinks of in America as the basso cantante and since he has one of the largest repertoires of all the voice categories, tends to be on the stage every night. The voice generally has a more refined, Italian sound than the Seriöserbaß and lies a bit higher. Although he can usually sing the repertoire of either the Seriöser- or Spielfach, he lacks either the physical or vocal size or the acting ability that would make his portrayal of the leading characters acceptable. Most often he is relegated to secondary roles of a supportive type: he is the friend, the father, or the wise man in the opera: Zuniga in Carmen, Warlaam in Boris, Angelotti in Tosca, Don Ferrando in both Fidelio and Il Trovatore the Großinquisitor in Don Carlos and the King in Aida. A few plums do come his ray in the roles of Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. If the voice is large enough he may also sing roles from both the Seriöser- and Schwerer Spielbaß Fachs such as Daland in Der Fliegenden Holländer, Mephisto in Faust, and Hunding in Die Walküre.

Singers: José van Dam, Samuel Ramey, Ruggero Raimondi

Examples: José van Dam, Faust

Basilio

*Der Barbier von Sevilla

Verleundung-Arie (La calunnia è un venticello)

Don Bartolo

*Der Barbier von Sevilla

A un dottor della mia sorte

Daland

*Der fliegenden Holländer

Mögst du mein Kind

Figaro

*Figaros Hochqeit

All three arias

Leporello

*Don Giovanni

Register-arie (Catalogue Aria)

Don Ferrando

*Der Troubadour

Di due figli vivea padre beato

Baculus

*Der Wildschütz

Fünf Tausand Taler

 

 

 

Alidoro

La Cenerentola

Là del ciel

Rocoo

Fidelio

Gold-Arie (Hat man nicht auch Gold daneben)

Banquo

Macbeth

Come dal ciel precipita

Méphistophélès

Margarethe (Faust)

Le veau d'or
Ständchen (Vous qui faites l'endormie)

Plumkett

Martha

Laßt mich euch fragen

   

 

SERIÖSERBAß/SCHWARZERBAß (C to f')

Basso Cantabile

 

A full voice with a dark color and good low voice.

 

This is the Fach which includes the very deep bass roles, such as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and the leading basses of the opera including Phillip in Don Carlos, König Marke in Tristan und Isolde and König Heinrich in Lohingrin. It also includes many smaller roles as does the Baßbariton Fach. It demands an imposing figure, a large voice, a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity in acting and the kind of personality which inspires confidence. Although included in this Fach are the great Italian bass roles, the Seriöserbaß in the German theater has a darker rougher sound than his Italian counterpart.

Singers: Cesare Siepi, Feodor Chaliapin, Ezio Pinza, Boris Christoff, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Marti Talvela, Matti Salminen, Aage Haugland, Kurt Moll, Hans Sotin. 

Examples: Cesare Siepi, La Sonnambula / Les Huguenots   

Philipp

* Don Carlos

Ella giammai m'amò

Gremin

* Eugen Onegin

Ein jeder kennt die Lieb' auf Erden

König Heinrich

* Lohengrin

Mein Herr und Gott

Pogner

* Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Nun hort, und versteht mich recht

Fiesco

* Simone Boccanegra

Il lacerato spirito

Sarastro

* Die Zauberflöte

O  Isis und Osiris / In diesen heil'gen Hallen

 

 

 

Boris

Boris

 

Rocco

Fidelio

Gold-Arie  (Hat mann nicht auch Gold daneben)

Kaspar

Der Freischütz

Hier im irdischen Jammertal / Schweig'!, schweig'!

Hagen

Götterdämmerung

Hier sitz ich / Hoi-ho

Collin

La Bohème

Mantel-Arie (Vecchia zimarra, senti )

Raimund

Lucia di Lammermoor

Dalle stanze ove Lucia

Banquo

Macbeth

Come dal ciel precipita

des Grieux

Manon

Èpouse quelque brave fllle

Zacharias

Nabbucco

D'Egitto la sui lidi / Gebet / Ptophzeiung

Gurnemanz

Parsifal

Erzählung from the 1st act

König Marke

Tristan und Isolde

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