Opera Singer Emiliano Barragán-Géant, Lyric Baritone

Opera Singer Emiliano Barragán-Géant, Lyric Baritone

Audio Recordings

On "Or la tromba"

Choosing arias from the vast and deeply rich baroque repertoire is a very interesting and delicate experience for a lyric baritone. In the case of Händel, we often find that his melodies and harmonies are so attractive for the performers that Arias like the Largo "Ombra mai fù" from Serse originally composed for the alto voice, is often sung by sopranos, tenors and even basses. In the baroque era, the lower male voice was called basso, it was not as defined as is is today. At the present there are more specific subdivisions and repertoire written according with the vocal range, agility and timber. For example, "Basso" as understood at the time of Händel could very well include any of the following subdivisions of the male lower voice: Basso Profondo, Bel Canto Bass, Basso Cantante, Dramatic Bass, Bass-baritone, Lyric baritone, Bel Canto (coloratura) baritone, kavalierbariton, Dramatic baritone, Verdi baritone, baryton-noble, and Bariton/Baryton-Martin.

To find baroque arias which can display all the artistic and technical possibilities that the lyric baritone could offer is, therefore, slightly limited since the lower range of the basso was too low for a baritone; and the tenor's upper register too high. The Aria "Or la tromba" from the opera Rinaldo, for example, was also written for the alto voice. It has been included in this selection sung in the coloratura baritone tessitura. Just like "Ombra mai fù", "Or la tromba" is an Aria with tremendous beauty and expressive and technical possibilities where there is a fierce dialogue between the trumpet and the soloist as well as an evident display of bravura passages where range and athletic virtuosism set unequivocally the triumphant mood of the knight Rinaldo.

There are very little examples of Händel operas staged or recorded by baritones where the roles were originally conceived for altos. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for example, recorded the entire Opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto singing the title role of Cesare which was written for an alto. Some listeners and critics have occasionally argued that some of these heroic roles like Rinaldo, Cesare, Serse and even Ariodante would be more credible when sung by a lower voice that resembles more virility of such characters. Perhaps the voice of the lyric or coloratura baritone would suit it best, not only for its equivalence with the tessitura of the alto but because it is a lighter/higher voice than the basso, hence more capable of portraying more accurately the pyrotechnics for which Händel is famous. This Aria was recorded at the Royal College of Music in 2008, conducted by Bridget Cunningham with Fruzsi Hara playing the solos for trumpet.