The Vocal Technique of the Verdi Baritone

Open Access
Carpenter, John Curran
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Charles Dowell Youmans, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mark Edward Ballora, Honors Advisor
  • singing
  • baritone
  • verdi
  • technique
  • vocal
  • bastianini
  • macneil
  • ruffo
  • protti
  • sanders
  • carpenter
I wrote this thesis in an attempt to provide useful information about the vocal technique of great operatic singers, especially “Verdi baritones”—singers specializing in dramatic lead roles of this voice-type in Giuseppe Verdi’s operas. Through careful scrutiny of historical performances by great singers of the past century, I attempt to show that attentive listening can be a vitally important component of a singer’s technical development. This approach is especially valuable within the context of a mentor/apprentice relationship, a centuries-old pedagogical tradition in opera that relies heavily on figurative language to capture the relationship between physical sensation and quality of sound. Using insights gleaned from conversations with my own teacher, the heldentenor Graham Sanders, I analyze selected YouTube clips to demonstrate the relevance of sensitive listening for developing smoothness of tone, maximum resonance, legato, and other related issues.