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Which vocal range best suits Christine?

  • Joined: 22 Nov 2011 18:58
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There has already been a discussion along the lines of this for the best vocal range for the Phantom. But in reading that thread, it seemed as if there was also the question of the vocal range the suits Christine. So what do you think?

I think she has to be a soprano to reach those high E's. But then again, she also has some pretty low notes. So, as I am not that experienced with singing myself, I would like to know your opinions!

Posted on: 3 Apr 2012 18:26
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Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

  • Joined: 27 Apr 2005 12:09
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Quote:

christinegrrl wrote:
There has already been a discussion along the lines of this for the best vocal range for the Phantom. But in reading that thread, it seemed as if there was also the question of the vocal range the suits Christine. So what do you think?

I think she has to be a soprano to reach those high E's. But then again, she also has some pretty low notes. So, as I am not that experienced with singing myself, I would like to know your opinions!

There's only one high E she has to reach, the other high note, at the end of TOM, is a high C. But you pinpoint an important thing about the Christine role: she goes both rather high and rather low. And that is a challenge for the singer.

I learned long ago that the reason for this is that they originally wanted Christine to have a low range, to feature a character with no particular talent. But when she was under the influence of the Phantom she became a soaring soprano in a trancelike state. Though the idea was abandoned at an early stage traces of it can still be found in the score. Christine does sing a lot of low notes judging how you really must be a soprano to do the score justice. And that is because the low notes is her "normal self", while the high notes is her Phantom inspired voice. Both are crucial to the role.

That brings me to voice type. Because of the range displayed the singer needs to be a soprano. But there are many types of sopranos, ranging from light soubrettes to heavy dramatic ones. Christine should be in the light end of the scale, either a soubrette (sweet and light soprano which usually plays the young heroines) or a lyric soprano (the same qualities as a soubrette, but a warmer and fuller sound).

Some describe Christine as a "coloratura", however "coloratura" is not a voice type but a quality within the voice. The term means to "colour" the music, and in this case it means colouring it with trills, leaps and running passages. Think Queen of the Night's famous aria, or anything sung by Lucia di Lammermoor. It's a quality typically heard in light sopranos. But one of the most famous coloraturas of modern time is Cecilia Bartoli, who is a mezzo soprano (I.E with a noticeable darker sound and range than true sopranos). Christine could however be described as a "coloratura soprano", meaning the highest female voice type with the ability to sing high and fast notes with ease.

There has been very few coloratura sopranos playing Christine. Maybe because these specialize in the very upper range and would struggle with the lower range. The only true coloratura soprano I can think of in the role is Swedish Inger Olsson Moberg. She was GLORIOUS, though. I've seen Sarah Brightman being described as a "dramatic coloratura", but within the opera world I don't think she qualifies to dramatic. Rather a spinto (a lyric soprano with a dramatic nerve).

Few Christines describe themselves as soubrettes, maybe because people tend to think "soubrette" is a role type rather than a voice type. Most Christines describe themselves as lyric sopranos, and that is quite fitting in terms of what the score needs. Rebecca Caine recently referred to herself as a "light lyric soprano", just to have a specific reference to the voice type.

Posted on: 4 Apr 2012 3:50
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Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

  • Joined: 3 Oct 2011 13:35
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operafantomet wrote:
I learned long ago that the reason for this is that they originally wanted Christine to have a low range, to feature a character with no particular talent. But when she was under the influence of the Phantom she became a soaring soprano in a trancelike state.

I hadn't heard that, but I can understand why the idea was dropped. It would be altogether too close to Trilby and Svengali in the George du Maurier novel.

Posted on: 4 Apr 2012 6:46
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Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

  • Joined: 27 Apr 2005 12:09
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Quote:

MarySkater wrote:
Quote:

operafantomet wrote:
I learned long ago that the reason for this is that they originally wanted Christine to have a low range, to feature a character with no particular talent. But when she was under the influence of the Phantom she became a soaring soprano in a trancelike state.

I hadn't heard that, but I can understand why the idea was dropped. It would be altogether too close to Trilby and Svengali in the George du Maurier novel.

Definitely. I think the story is better off without it. I mean, there are still moments Christine is under the Phantom's spell, so to speak, and he does make her sing like an angel. But I like that it's in the minor details rather than as a concept.

I was also told the title song was named "I walk the floor" (that line sung where Christine now sings "...inside my mind").

Posted on: 4 Apr 2012 12:25
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Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?
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  • I have always thought Sarah Brightman was a very light and agile coloratura.
    I remember reading Sierra Boggess's resume a few years ago, which said that she was a coloratura as well; she does have a great upper range and agility overall...
    I remember Sofia Escobar tweeting about how she warmed up to a G6 (a note higher than the Queen of the Night's top notes!) but she sounds more like a lighter lyric soprano than anything to me.

    Posted on: 8 Apr 2012 9:39
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    Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

    • Joined: 27 Mar 2012 16:27
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    Christine definitely has to be a soprano, but not necessarily a high soprano. I guess a mezzo soprano could play Christine, too.
    Then I don't know very much about different type of sopranos, but it's very interesting to learn more!

    Posted on: 8 Apr 2012 11:04
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    Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

    • Joined: 30 Apr 2008 18:17
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    Quote:

    operafantomet wrote:
    Quote:



    I learned long ago that the reason for this is that they originally wanted Christine to have a low range, to feature a character with no particular talent. But when she was under the influence of the Phantom she became a soaring soprano in a trancelike state. Though the idea was abandoned at an early stage traces of it can still be found in the score. Christine does sing a lot of low notes judging how you really must be a soprano to do the score justice. And that is because the low notes is her "normal self", while the high notes is her Phantom inspired voice. Both are crucial to the role.



    I've never heard of that before, although it's very interesting. You can find interviews of ALW explaining that Christine has such a broad vocal range simply because his wife at the time, Sarah Brightman, had such a broad vocal range, and he wanted to show it off. Up until then, Sarah had only been dabbling in classical music, and to be honest, her typical vocal range was quite lower. ALW is the one who helped her push ahead with her classical training, leading to Pie Jesu, and ultimately, Phantom.

    Posted on: 3 Aug 2012 19:32
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    Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

    • Joined: 4 Apr 2009 1:28
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    This might be highly off-topic: I don't know if there's any way under heaven that I could play Christine b/c I'm only aiming for regional theater (not going to try to make it big, just stay local)... but I would always love to be prepared for anything.

    Christine is one of my dream roles (obviously). But I would classify myself as a mezzo-soprano. As of late I realize that my strength is in my mid-range but I can sing quite low (alto) easily, and high stuff easily too. Like I can sing the high Eb that Carlotta does in "Prima Donna" on the spot, without warming up. That wouldn't be in full voice. But in full voice I can have the quality of Sierra Boggess or Gina Beck if you will, and the more I practice the more "legit" it sounds.

    My main problem is that high E. Which is ONLY a half a step away from that Eb but for some reason I can never hit it WELL. It is SO frustrating.

    On audition descriptions it says Christine "briefly sings E6." And she doesn't even have to do it every night. But I'm not there yet.

    On-topic again: My favorite range for Christine is lyrical soprano with a youthful "acting voice" thrown in there. Basically: Gina Beck.

    Posted on: 9 Aug 2012 19:33

    Edited by DyingOfLove on 9 Aug 2012 19:35:23
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    Re: Which vocal range best suits Christine?

    • Joined: 10 Apr 2012 20:53
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    Quote:



    On-topic again: My favorite range for Christine is lyrical soprano with a youthful "acting voice" thrown in there. Basically: Gina Beck.


    I agree, lyrical sopranos are my favourite, Rebecca Caine springs to mind, as does Gina Beck.

    Posted on: 10 Aug 2012 18:40
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