Lyric soprano

A lyric soprano is a type of operatic soprano voice that has a warm quality with a bright, full timbre that can be heard over an orchestra. The lyric soprano voice generally has a higher tessitura than a soubrette and usually plays ingenues and other sympathetic characters in opera. Lyric sopranos have a range from approximately middle C (C4) to "high D" (D6).[1] This is the most common female singing voice.[2] There is a tendency to divide lyric sopranos into two groups, light and full.[3]

Light lyric soprano

A light-lyric soprano has a bigger voice than a soubrette but still possesses a youthful quality.[4] There are a wide variety of roles written for this voice, and they may sing soubrette, baroque and other light roles as well.[5]

Light lyric soprano roles


Full lyric soprano

A full-lyric soprano has a more mature sound than a light-lyric soprano and can be heard over a bigger orchestra.[4] This more mature sound may make a full-lyric less suitable for some of the lighter roles. Occasionally a full lyric will have a big enough voice that she can take on much heavier roles, using volume in place of vocal weight. This is done when a more lyric timbre is desired in an otherwise heavier role. Otherwise full lyric sopranos need be judicious with spinto and other heavy roles to prevent vocal deterioration.[1][6]

Full lyric soprano roles


See also



  1. 1 2 Coffin (1960)
  2. Aronson (2009), p. 278
  3. 1 2 3 Boldrey (1994), Guide to Operatic Roles and Arias
  4. 1 2 Nashville Opera
  5. Boldrey (1992), Singer's Edition (Light Lyric Soprano)
  6. "Full lyric soprano" example: Contessa: "Dove sono" on YouTube from The Marriage of Figaro by Renée Fleming, Metropolitan Opera 1998


Further reading

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