(from Italian, "pushed") is a vocal term used to characterize a soprano
voice of a weight between lyric
that is capable of handling large dramatic climaxes at moderate intervals. Sometimes the terms lirico-spinto
are used. This voice type
is recognized by its "slice," allowing the singer to be heard over a full Romantic orchestra
in roles excluding, in particular, the most taxing of the Verdi
parts, such as Otello
To illustrate what a spinto voice is, and how it differs from a lyric voice, a soundfile of Vissi d'arte sung by six different sopranos (on opera blog Parterre.com) is provided.
- Lyric (Claudia Muzio)
- Spinto (Leontyne Price)
- Spinto (Renata Tebaldi)
- Spinto (Zinka Milanov)
- Lyric (Montserrat Caballé)
- Spinto (Antonietta Stella)
Rosalind Plowright defines a spinto voice as one that has a tonal colour one down from its range. For example, a voice with a mezzo's tone colour and the high notes of a soprano, or a voice with a tenor range and a baritone's tone colour, is a spinto. She names Placido Domingo as an instance of the latter. Plowright's generalisation does not hold true for all spinto tenors, however. Giovanni Martinelli, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi and Jussi Bjorling, for instance, sang spinto roles such as Radames with bright-toned voices that lacked any baritonal colouration.