Discussion:
Baritones singing Melot
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REP
2016-08-01 17:32:48 UTC
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I've experienced this more than once: Melot, a tenor role, being sung by a baritone. Today's Bayreuth broadcast is just one of many examples. Melot's highest note is an F#, with a few F's thrown into the mix, which is within the baritone range (Kurwenal, for comparison, has many F's, F#'s, and at least one high G). And, of course, the role is short enough for the tessitura not to be an issue. So it's not too surprising that it _can_ be sung by a baritone, despite being a tenor role; but does anyone know _why_ this practice is so common?

REP
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-08-03 00:44:37 UTC
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I've experienced this more than once: Melot, a tenor role, being sung by a baritone. Today's Bayreuth broadcast is just one of many examples. Melot's highest note is an F#, with a few F's thrown into the mix, which is within the baritone range (Kurwenal, for comparison, has many F's, F#'s, and at least one high G). And, of course, the role is short enough for the tessitura not to be an issue. So it's not too surprising that it _can_ be sung by a baritone, despite being a tenor role; but does anyone know _why_ this practice is so common?
REP
My guess would be power and audibility. It's a role for mostly younger or older singers, and such tenors can easily sound weedy against the Wagnerian orchestra, baritones much less so. The darker timbre is also more effective for a villain. I've heard Melots of both kinds, but it may be significant that the one who made the strongest impression was the young Thomas Allen.

Cheers,

Mike
REP
2016-08-03 01:54:06 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
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I've experienced this more than once: Melot, a tenor role, being sung by a baritone. Today's Bayreuth broadcast is just one of many examples. Melot's highest note is an F#, with a few F's thrown into the mix, which is within the baritone range (Kurwenal, for comparison, has many F's, F#'s, and at least one high G). And, of course, the role is short enough for the tessitura not to be an issue. So it's not too surprising that it _can_ be sung by a baritone, despite being a tenor role; but does anyone know _why_ this practice is so common?
REP
My guess would be power and audibility. It's a role for mostly younger or older singers, and such tenors can easily sound weedy against the Wagnerian orchestra, baritones much less so. The darker timbre is also more effective for a villain. I've heard Melots of both kinds, but it may be significant that the one who made the strongest impression was the young Thomas Allen.
Cheers,
Mike
This is what I was thinking. The way I would put it is that Melot is a shouty role, and baritones do shouty better than tenors.

Looking at the Tristan score this week, I'm amazed once again by Kurwenal's tessitura. He's in hysterics for most of Act 3, so he's hitting F's and F#'s non-stop. It makes Telramund look like an easy sing.

REP

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