Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have been searching the web for as comprehensive a Fach (voice category based on vocal timbre, weight, etc.) list I could find (based on the Kloiber buch Handbuch der Oper), and I think I finally found a decent one (CLICK HERE).

Now that I've found the list I have a decision to make. I was told some time ago that in order to have a nice long career it is a good idea to find your Fach and sing one lighter. I believe that I have done that, identifying my "future" self as a Spinto (Jugendliche Heldentenor) Tenor, which means I should sing Lyric Tenor repertoire first (CLICK HERE for the tenor Fach list).

However, I have sung through several arias and even a couple of roles in the Spinto fach, and they feel really good, with a little temptation on some of them to sing heavy. In Germany (where I intend to go and work next fall) they are really picky about choosing things from only one Fach. I am sure that it is harder to find a Spinto Tenor than it is to find a Lyric Tenor, so from a purely marketing standpoint it seems wise to lean that way - plus since I'm 30 my voice is already pretty mature (though there is more to go).

So here is what I think I should do - choose the roles that appear on both lists and prepare those first. Here is what roles that would include:

Berlioz - La Damnation de Faust - Faust
Gounod - Faust - Faust
Puccini - La Boheme - Rodolfo
Puccini - Madame Butterfly - Pinkerton
Smetana - The Bartered Bride - Jenik
Strauss, R. - Capriccio - An Italian Singer
Strauss, R. - Die Frau ohne Schatten - Kaiser (The Emperor)
Stavinsky - The Rake's Progress - Tom Rakewell
Verdi - Rigoletto - Duca

Those become obvious choices, with a few sticking out because they are performed so often, including Faust, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, and Rigoletto.

In Germany it is essential that you come with some Mozart, which means I do have to make a Fach choice here since my preparation has been in both. In this case I would choose Lyric tenor stuff such as:

Cosi fan tutte - Ferrando
Don Giovanni - Don Ottavio
Die Zauberflote - Tamino

(Interestingly enough, Clemenza di Tito is listed under Spinto.)

So, hopefully choosing those roles to start with, including a couple other lyric roles like Alfredo from La Traviata, Nemorino from L'Elisir d'Amore, Walther from Tannhauser, etc. I put myself in the Lyric fach with definite direction towards Spinto.

Any other opinions out there (rhetorical :) )? Thanks for letting me think "out loud".


Anonymous said...

I don't believe there is an italian singer in "Capriccio"...possibly you mean "Rosenkavalier"?

Eric Hanson said...

It's a small role - there are two Italian singers, a soprano and a tenor. Strauss had a thing for unnamed characters called "Italian Singers" :)...

Steve said...

Dear Eric,

Re. repetoire, I think you're on the right track. The thing to remember, particularly in your fach, is not to let anyone talk you into accepting roles that your teacher, mind and heart tell you aren't right for you--not yet, at least.

If you go this route, your voice and technique will grow sufficiently so that you can safely assume some bigger roles (I'm thinking especially Mario in "Tosca" and Rodolfo in "Luisa Miller") when you reach your late 30s or turn 40.

Re. songs, have you sung or studied Britten's "The Holy Sonnets of John Donne?" This is a great cycle, which would probably fit your voice quite well---would love to hear you sing it:).

Best wishes and may God bless you and yours during this Lenten season,

Steve (a former singer, but now active opera-and-singing aficianado:))--

Mr. T's place said...

Here is a better Fach list from a singer who spent his career "over there." I think he has a pretty good grasp on it...


With the rep you describe, you need to focus on the Italianisches Tenor. Remember, they cast a fach lighter than we do here, and the pitch is hogher. You will notice it the first coaching you recieve.

Tamino is going more heroic in German houses, but they do wanna see if you can sing it. "Il mio Tesoro" might also be a good choice for your Mozart, but good choices.

They will ask for the Rodolfo and the Mozart pretty quick. If you offer the Rodolfo, the WILL want to hear the C. No if and or buts.

Do you sing "Fra poco a me ricovero" from Lucia? Big work over there, as it is here.

Best of luck!

Eric Hanson said...

Thanks for all of the comments - these are all so helpful.