Tenor Arias


The high male voice, in addition to being classified by weight, allows for the consideration of comic ability. The Spieltenor or buffo tenor is a very busy man in the German opera house, singing both small and large roles in opera and operetta. He must have excellent command of the German language and be a flexible, singing-actor. Physically he may not have the leading-character looks or appropriate size, being either too small or too heavy. If the voice is a large instrument capable of dramatic singing, the comic tenor may later move into, the Charaktertenor Fach. The Lyrischertenor must have both the good looks, high notes and stamina to sing a wide variety of literature. The true leading tenor of the German theater is the Jugendlich-Dramatischertenor. This is the American spinto tenor but with a more metallic quality than we are used to hearing in the Italian repertoire lending itself perhaps better to the German literature at least in coloration. The Heldentenor is a rarity with a large voice and baritonal quality, heroic stage presence, and excellent German.

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.


Buffo Tenor

A smaller, expressive voice and an excellent actor.

The comic tenor in the German-speaking countries is a key figure in the opera and operetta. He has much more to do than the so-called comprimario in the American and Italian opera houses. Indeed, many people will include in the category much of what is generally considered the lighter repertoire of Lyrischertenor Fach in this catagory. Language and acting skills are often more important than singing ability. His popular roles include Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Jacquino in Fidelio, David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Wenzel in Die verkaufte Braut. In many houses he tenor who sings these roles may also be asked to sing Almaviva or Nemorino. It is quite possible for a young Spieltenor to eventually work into the lighter Lyrischertenor Fach, the deciding factor will be the beauty of the voice and is physical appearance.

Singers: Gerhard Unger, Peter Schreier.

Examples: Gerhard Unger, Der Rosenkavalier; 


Peter Schreier, Zar und Zimmerman

Pedrillo * Die Entflührung aus dem Serail Frisch zum Kampfe!
David * Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Weisen-Arie
Beppo Der Bajazzo (I Pagliacci) Ständchen (O Columbina, il tenero fido Arlecchin)
(Almavia) Der Barbier von Sevilla Ecco, ridente in cielo
(Don Ferrando) Così fan tutte Un’ aura amorosa
Franz Hoffmanns Erzählungen Tag und Nacht verteil ich mich
(Nemorino) Der Liebestrank
(L’elisir d’amore)
Una furtiva lagrima
Mime Das Rheingold Wer halfet mir!
Wenzel Die verkaufte Braut Ma-mein, Mü-Mütterlein
Georg Der Waffenschmied Man wird ja einmal nur geboren
Monostatos Die Zauberflöte Alles fühlt der Liebe freuden



Light Lyric Tenor

A supple, flexible voice with a beautiful mellow quality and extended top range.

The Fach of Lyrischer Tenor can often be divided into two separate categories: the Lyrischertenor (a tenor leggiero) and the higher Italienischertenor (America’s lyric tenor). In contract negotiations however this is most often considered one Fach. Other problems arise with the term Italienischertenor as it is often reserved for the heavier Italian spinto, the German Judendlicher-Heldentenor. The true Lyrischertenor must have a youthful, handsome appearance. His repertoire ranges from Nemorino to Faust and containing all the Mozart and Rossini tenors, the lighter Verdi roles of like the Duke in Rigoletto and Alfredo in La Traviata and Rudolfo in La Bohème as well as a myriad of smaller roles. When the Fach is divided, the Lyrischertenor takes the lighter roles and the Italienischertenor the heavier. The audition aria list has been divided into two parts but should be thought of as a whole as the singer of the Lyrischertenor Fach is often required to sing all of the repertoire listed. For auditioning, choose your repertoire according to the weight of your voice, leaving off either the lighter or heavier works as the case may be.

Singers: Francesco Araiza, Tito Schipa, Bruce Ford, Chris Merritt, Rockwell Blake, Frank Lopardo, and Stanford Olsen

Examples: William Matteuzzi and Francesco Araiza: La Cenerentola

Almavia * Der Barbier von Sevillia Ecco, ridente in cielo
Ferrando * Così tan tutte Un’ aura amorosa
Belmonte * Die Entführung aus dem Serail O Wie ängstlich / Ich baue Ganz (Die Baumeisterarie)
Octavio * Don Giovanni Dalla sua pace / Il mio tesoro
Nemorino * Der Liebes Trank
(L’elisire d’amare)
Ernesto * Don Pasquale Com’e gentil
Alfredo * Il Traviata Trinklied (Libiamo) / De miei bollenti spiriti
Chateauneuf * Zar und Zimmermann Lebe wohl, mein flandrisch Mädchen
Tamino * Die Zauberflöte Bildnis-arie (Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernt schön)
Don Ramiro La Cenerentola Pegno d’amore
Fenton Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor Ständchen (Horch, die Lerche singt im Hain)
Lionel Martha Ach, so fromm



Full Lyric Tenor

Singers: Alfredo Kraus, Richard Tauber, Fritz Wunderlich, Gosta Winbergh, David Rendall, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Jose Carreras, Neil Shicoff

Examples: Fritz Wunderlich, Die Zauberflöte;


Nicolai Gedda, Lucia di Lammermoor

Rudolfo * La Bohème Che gelida mania
Lenski * Eugen Onegin Wohin, wohin seid ihr entschwunden?
(Duke) * Rigoletto La donna è mobile / Parmi veder le lagrimi
Steuermann Der fiegenden Holländer Steuermannlied
Hoffmann Hoffmanns Erzählungen Zusammen sein
Edgardo Lucia di Lammermoor Fra poco a me ricovero
Linkerton Madama Butterfly Addio florito
Johnson Das Mädchen aus dem goldenen Westen Ch’ella mi creda
Des Grieux Manon Ah! fuyez douce image
Faust Margarethe (Faust) Salut! demeure chaste et pure
Sänger Der Rosenkavalier Italienische-arie



Zwischenfach voice with fine characterization ability.

This voice type is a product of the German theater tradition. It is large with plenty of metal and capable of clear declamation. The Charaktertenor must have the acting ability of a Spieltenor and often the cutting power of the Heldentenor. Along with a number of smaller roles such as Dr. Cajus in Falstaff, Spalanzani in Hoffmanns Erzählungen, and Gerardo in Gianni Schicchi, The Charaktertenor has the task of portraying Herodes in Salome and Loge in Das Rheingold.


Spinto Tenor

A metallic voice with noble tenoral quality, that can sing both lyric and dramatic passages.

This Fach is the dividing line between the lyric and dramatic tenor voice. It is quite conceivable that someone would sing all the roles of the Lyrischertenor Fach but it is unlikely that anyone would sing both the Lyrischertenor and Jugendlicher-Heldentenor Fächer. The voice demanded is one which has great metal and ring, a secure top and a considerable amount of staying power. This category includes the heavier Italian and French tenor roles of Radames in Aïda, Manrico in Der Troubador, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don Jose in Carmen, and Canio in I Pagliacci. The key to understanding the color and temperament of the Jugendlicher-Heldentenor is the role of Max in Der Freischütz. Jugendlicher-Heldentenor translates as youthful heroic tenor which is an accurate definition of this Fach as it indicates someone, who, like a good Max may well develop into a Tristan or Florestan. The color of the voice is likely to be more slanted toward the German metallic singing than the Italian sound of the heavy spinto tenor. Both Walther in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Lohengrin belong to this Fach. There must be an implication of a potential God-character to the tenor singing many of these roles.

Singers: Nicolai Gedda, Franco Corelli, Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Bjorling, Giuseppe di Stefano, Carlo Bergonzi, Franco Corelli, and the Americans Jan Peerce and Richard Tucker, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.

Examples: Nicolai Gedda: Oberon;


Franco Corelli, Aida

Radames * Aïda Celeste Aïda
Canio * Der Bajazzo (I Pagliacci) Vesti la giubba
Carlos * Don Carlos Io lo vidi
Don Jose * Carmen Blumen Arie (Flower Song)
Max * Der Freischütz Durch die Wälder
Lohengrin * Lohengrin In fernem Land
Walter * Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Preislied (Morgenlicht leutet’)/ Am stillen Herd
Cavaradossi * Tosca Recondita armonia / E lucevan le stelle
Turiddu Cavalleria Rusticana Mamma, quel vino e generoso
Hoffmann Hoffmanns Erzählungen Zusammen sein
Erik Der fliegenden Holländer Willst jenes Tag’s du nicht mehr entsinnen / Cavatina
Alvaro Die Macht des Schicksals O, tu che in seno agli angeli
Faust Margarethe (Faust) Salut! demure chaste et pure
Riccardo Ein Maskenball Di tu se fedele / Ma se m’e forza perderti
Parsifal Parsifal Amfortas, die Wunde
Manrico Der Troubadour Di quella pira / Ah si, ben mio coll’essere
Calaf Turandot Nessun dorma
Hans Die verkaufte Braut Wie war’s denn möglich
Sigmund Die Walküre Winterstürme


Dramatic Tenor

A large metallic voice with a baritonal quality with well developed middle and low registers.

Although many tenors of the Jugendlicher-Heldentenor Fach move on to sing the roles of the true Heldentenor, it remains a true specialty Fach that demands an impressive and distinctive dramatic quality with plenty of size and metal and a commanding appearance.

Singers: Jon Vickers, Lauritz Melchior, Wolfgang Windgassen, James King, Siegfried Jerusalem, Gary Lakes and Ben Heppner.

Examples: Wolfgang Windgassen, Parsifal;


Jon Vickers, Fidelio

Canio * I Pagliacci Vesti la giubba
Florestan * Fidelio Gott! Welch dunkel hier
Siegfried * Götterdämmerung Siegfrieds Tod
Lohengrin * Lohengrin In fernem Land
Othello * Othello Ora e per sempre addio
Siegfried * Siegfried Schwert- und Schmiedelieder
Parsifal Parsifal Amfortas, die Wunde
Herodes Salome Salome, komm, trink Wein mit mir
Tannhäuser Tannhäuser Der Tone Lob / Zum Heil den Sündigen zu führen