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definition - fach

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Wikipedia

Fach

                   

The German Fach (pl. Fächer, literally "compartment" or also "subject (of study)", here in the sense of "(vocal) specialization") (German pronunciation: [ˈfax, ˈfɛçɐ]) system is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used world wide, but primarily in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries and by repertory opera houses.

The Fach system is a convenience for singers and opera houses. It prevents a singer from being asked to sing roles which he or she is incapable of performing. Opera companies keep lists of available singers by Fach so that when they are casting roles for an upcoming production, they do not inadvertently contact performers who would be inappropriate for the part.

Below is a list of Fächer, their ranges as written on sheet music, and roles generally considered to appropriate to each. When two names for the Fach are given, the first is in more common use today. Where possible, an English and/or Italian equivalent of each Fach is listed; however, not all Fächer have ready English or Italian equivalents. Note that some roles can be sung by more than one Fach and that many singers do not easily fit into a Fach: for instance some sopranos may sing both Koloratursopran and Dramatischer Koloratursopran roles. In addition, roles traditionally more difficult to cast may be given to a voice other than the traditional Fach. For instance, the "Queen of the Night" is more traditionally a dramatic coloratura role, but it is difficult to find a dramatic coloratura to sing it (particularly given the extreme range). Therefore, the role is often sung by a lyric coloratura.

Contents

  Soprano Fächer

  Lyrischer Koloratursopran / Koloratursoubrette

Soprano C to F.svg

  Dramatischer Koloratursopran

Soprano C to F.svg

One must not mistake the Mozartian dramatic coloratura soprano with the Italian dramatic coloratura soprano. A singer that sings Konstanze, Donna Anna or Fiordiligi can not necessarily sing the Italian dramatic coloratura parts, due to other vocal demands. Imogene, Leonora and Violetta requires a dramatic soprano voice and are most often sung by dramatic sopranos with an agile voice that can easily produce coloratura and high notes. Roles like Norma, Lady Macbeth, Odabella or Abigaille are good examples of Italian roles that are not necessarily a coloratura soprano (even though the score calls for coloratura singing), but a full bodied dramatic soprano with a voice that can handle extreme dramatic singing and that is flexible enough to sing coloratura. Giuseppe Verdi wrote many parts like this in his early years. The dramatic soprano Ghena Dimitrova are the perfect example of such a voice. She sang all these parts as well as the very heavy Italian dramatic repertoire. Maria Callas is yet another famous example, but hers was a voice of such flexibility that she could sing almost anything she wanted.

  Deutsche Soubrette / Charaktersopran

Soprano C to C.svg

  Lyrischer Sopran

Soprano B to C.svg

  Jugendlich Dramatischer Sopran

Soprano A to C.svg

  Dramatischer Sopran

Soprano A to C.svg
  • English equivalent: Full dramatic soprano
  • Range: From about the A below middle C to the C two octaves above middle C
  • Description: Characterized by their rich, full sounding voices, dramatic sopranos are expected to project across large orchestras, a feat that requires a powerful sound. Dramatic sopranos are not expected to have the vocal flexibility of the lighter Fachs. Although most dramatic sopranos have a darker, more robust quality to the voice, there are some that possess a lighter lyrical tone. In these instances, however, the substantial amount of volume and endurance normally associated with the dramatic soprano voice is still present. The darker voiced dramatic soprano may even make a foray into the dramatic mezzo-soprano territory with great success.

The last two roles mentioned, Salome and Die Kaiserin, are respectively high dramatic sopranos and require that the soprano can endure long stretches of very high tessitura. Richard Strauss himself said that Salome should be sung by someone with the flexibility of a dramatic coloratura due to the high tessitura.

  Hochdramatischer Sopran

  • English equivalent: Wagnerian soprano
  • Range: From about the G below middle C to the C two octaves above middle C
  • Description: A voice capable of answering the demands of operas of Wagner's maturity. Basically, a full dramatic soprano voice taken to the next dimension. The voice is substantial, very powerful, and even throughout the registers. It is immense, stentorian and even larger than the voice of the "normal" dramatic soprano. Although the two voices are comparable and are sometimes hard to distinguish between, this voice has even greater stamina, endurance and volume than the former. Successful hochdramatische are rare: only one or two appear in a generation.[citation needed]

  Mezzo-soprano and Contralto Fächer

  Koloratur-Mezzosopran

Soprano G to B.svg

  Lyrischer Mezzosopran / Spielalt

Soprano G to B.svg

  Dramatischer Mezzosopran

Soprano G to B.svg

  Dramatischer Alt

  Tiefer Alt

  Tenor Fächer

  Spieltenor / Tenor Buffo

Tenor C to B.svg

  Charaktertenor

Tenor B to C.svg

  Lyrischer Tenor

Tenor C to C.svg

  Jugendlicher Heldentenor

Tenor C to C.svg

  Heldentenor

Tenor B to C.svg

  Baritone Fächer

  Lyrischer Bariton / Spielbariton

Baritone B to G.svg

  Kavalierbariton

Baritone A to G Sharp.svg

  Charakterbariton

Baritone A to G Sharp.svg

  Heldenbariton

Bass G to F Sharp.svg
  • Examples:

  Lyric Bassbariton/Low Lyric Baritone

  • English equivalent: Lyric Bass-baritone.
Bass G to F Sharp.svg

  Dramatic Bassbariton/Low DramaticBaritone

  • English equivalent: Dramatic Bass-baritone.
Bass G to F Sharp.svg

  Bass Fächer

  Basso Cantante/Lyric Bassbariton/High Lyric Bass

Bass E to F.svg

  Hoherbass/Dramatic Bassbariton/High Dramatic Bass

Bass E to F.svg

  Jugendlicher Bass

Bass E to F.svg

  Spielbass/Bassbuffo/Lyric Buffo

Bass E to F.svg

  Schwerer Spielbass/Dramatic Buffo

Bass C to F.svg

  Lyric Seriöser Bass

Bass C to F.svg

  Dramatic Seriöser Bass

Bass C to F.svg

  References

  1. ^ John Warrack; Ewan West (1992). The Oxford Dictionary of Opera. USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-869164-8. 
  2. ^ Bass Guide, BBC Wales
   
               

 

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