Recent articles decry the lack of dramatic voices. Nonsense! Teachers don’t know how to teach them, and most directors don’t want to hear them. Mezzo soprano Dolora Zajick wants to, and she’s started her own school.
Knowing there aren’t many effective teachers for this voice type, and there aren’t many dramatic voices being heard in public these days, many people have never heard a true dramatic voice. YouTube to the rescue! During commercials of The Blob, yours truly put together a listening list.
In addition, here’s a 1990 article for further illustration. Even the title is appropriate: That Rare Vocal Bird. It’s in the Features section of an old web site. Sorry I can’t get a more direct link. Click the page, go to Features (left column), then click below where you see Arts and Leisure.
The Listening List
For the desired effect, turn your volume all the way up and don’t use earphones.
Voices need room to resonate, especially big ones.
The bigger the room you’re in, the better, and the louder you can turn up the volume!
The 3 mezzos below are all singing the same aria, “Stride la vampa” from Verd’si Il Trovatore. The Marx Brothers used this opera in their “A Night at the Opera” so it might be familiar. The character singing is the gypsy Azucena. The grisly song is about her memory of the night her mother was burned to death. An English translation is included in the first selection. The last two are Ms. Zajick’s favorite mezzos, giants in their field. Happy listening.