The high female singing voice in opera, choir, and music in general, with a singing range from C4 (middle C) to D6 (D over a woman's high C) just over two octaves above.
Situated over the mezzo-soprano (who often plays her rival), the soprano usually plays the female lead in opera and musical theater, usually the heroine.
Many pop and broadway singers are sopranos, although the vocal subcategories used in opera are not applied to them. Examples include Amy Adams, Sarah Brightman, Julie Andrews, Allison Crowe, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Jayma Mays, Charlotte Church, Mariah Carey, Minnie Riperton, Floor Jansen and Kristin Chenoweth.
According to vocal weight/voice type and range, sopranos are usually divided into five different categories:
Soubrette: usually a beginner whose voice is developing, a light voice with less strength in extreme high and low notes, she plays flirtatious and sassy but sweet comical characters.
Coloratura: a flexible, flute-like voice with a very high range, she performs vocal acrobatics. Examples include Sumi Jo, Natalie Dessay, and Beverly Sills
Lyric soprano: A strong, sweet, lightweight voice usually reserved for the ingenue and other likable characters. Examples include Renee Fleming, Tarja Turunen, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Mirella Freni.
Spinto soprano: A lyric voice with a strong dramatic edge, a bridge between lyric and dramatic. Examples include Leontyne Price, Renata Tebaldi, and Roxana Briban.
Dramatic soprano: A powerful, emotive, edgy voice which is suited to bold, desperate, tragic heroines. Examples include Maria Callas, Floor Jansen, Karita Mattila and Deborah Voigt.
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