Friday, June 4, 2010

Greatest Notes for Baritone

Thinking of the vast amount of glorious roles for baritone in the in the repertoire, there are many points where the singer gets to shine in all his glorious radiance. I want to list a few of these great moments just because they are so amazing. These notes are essentialy the equivalent of the tenor or soprano high Cs. It seems that it always requires some degree of risk to get the applause. That being said, all of these notes have the potential for great applause and also utter failure. The "great singers" however, have left us many wonderful recordings of how to completely own these notes and every singer could learn a thing or two from their examples. Let's begin.

Largo al factotum Lawrence Tibbett and Sherrill Milnes
This whole aria sits in such a high register, it's not surprising that people will clap at this song. Every baritone worth his salt learns this aria if for nothing else than the fact that it's such a fun song to sing. It is definitely the baritone's most well known aria, so there is a lot riding on a successful performance of it. If you don't really have the height in your voice, you can end up shouting the aria, and that wouldn't be good. One particular spot of the aria can make it or break it for the baritone. He has the option of throwing in a nice high A and it can be quite a thrilling moment. The example I have provided shows one example of a true to the score performance by Lawrence Tibbett and also a great performance by Sherrill Milnes, who does throw in all the extra high notes including a sustained A. It's glorious!

Scintille diamant
Robert Merrill
There are not many opportunities for the baritone to play such an evil person and also sing so beautifully. The money notes in this aria are high G#s. Oh! are they lovely. They can be quite dangerous, especially if you happen to be Bryn Terfel and just leave them completely exposed. However, I have provided a Robert Merrill example for you. He's a man who knows what he's doing.

Sherrill Milnes
This is probably one of my favorite arias ever! It is the pinnacle of performance for a baritone and takes a lot of ability to pull off well. The high A flat near the end and the G that follows it in the next phrase are sure to bring the house down when nailed by a great baritone and may even warrant a curtain call. It's just an amazing piece.

A few more

E gettata la mia sorte
(Optional high B flat at the very end) Sherrill again
All'erta marinar (A flat) Titta Ruffo, unaccompanied
Rigoletto ending (A flat) Cornell MacNeil, very dramatic