Fach

Fach

The German Fach (pl. Fächer, literally "compartment") ([ˈfɛçəɐ]) system is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, by the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is primarily used in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries and in repertory opera houses.

The Fach system is a convenience for singers and opera houses. A singer who is identified as being of a certain Fach will usually be asked to sing only roles that belong to that Fach. This prevents a singer from being asked to sing roles which he or she is incapable of performing. Opera houses keep lists of available singers by Fach so that when they are casting roles for an upcoming production, they do not inadvertently contact performers who would be inappropriate for the part.

Below is a list of Fächer, their ranges as written on sheet music, and their common roles. When two names for the Fach are given, the first is in more common use today. Where possible, an English equivalent of each Fach is listed, however not all Fächer have ready English equivalents. Note that some roles can be sung by more than one Fach and that many singers do not easily fit into a fach: for instance some sopranos may sing both Koloratursopran and Dramatischer Koloratursopran roles. In addition, roles traditionally more difficult to cast may be given to a voice other than the traditional fach. For instance, the Queen of the Night is more traditionally a dramatic coloratura role, but it is difficult to find enough dramatic coloraturas to sing it (particularly given the extreme range). Therefore, the role is often sung by Lyric Coloraturas.

Soprano Fächer

Lyrischer Koloratursopran / Koloratursoubrette

Dramatischer Koloratursopran

Deutsche Soubrette / Charaktersopran

Lyrischer Sopran

Jugendlich Dramatischer Sopran

Dramatischer Sopran

Hochdramatischer Sopran

Mezzo-soprano and Contralto Fächer

Koloratur-Mezzosopran

Lyrischer Mezzosopran / Spielalt

Dramatischer Mezzosopran

Dramatischer Alt

Tiefer Alt

Tenor Fächer

Spieltenor / Tenor Buffo

Charaktertenor

Lyrischer Tenor

Jugendlicher Heldentenor

Heldentenor

Baritone Fächer

Lyrischer Bariton / Spielbariton

Kavalierbariton

Charakterbariton

Heldenbariton

Lyric Bassbariton/Low Lyric Baritone

Dramatic Bassbariton/Low DramaticBaritone

Bass Fächer

Basso Cantante/Lyric Bassbariton/High Lyric Bass

Hoherbass/Dramatic Bassbariton/High Dramatic Bass

Jugendlicher Bass

Spielbass/Bassbuffo/Lyric Buffo

Schwerer Spielbass/Dramatic Buffo

Lyric Seriöser Bass

Dramatic Seriöser Bass

References

  • Rudolf Kloiber, Wulf Konold and Robert Maschka: Handbuch der Oper, 9. Auflage, Kassel (Bärenreiter) 2002, ISBN 3-7618-1605-7
  • Steane, J B: Fach in 'The New Grove Dictionary of Opera', ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7

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