Definition of mezzo in English:



  • 1A female singer with a voice pitched between soprano and contralto.

    ‘the Polish mezzo Stefania Toczyska’
    ‘a scene thundering with mezzo-sopranos’
    • ‘For this recording, taped in 1978, Raymond Leppard gave the castrato role to mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker, and the alto role to countertenor James Bowman.’
    • ‘Although Kelley O'Connor lists herself as a mezzo-soprano, she has a rich, incredibly deep voice that is quite unusual.’
    • ‘Elina Garanca's voice is somewhat lighter than the other mezzo-sopranos which results in a good contrast.’
    • ‘She negotiates the most incredibly florid passages with imperious authority, and she sings with the passion that other mezzos reserve for Amneris or Eboli.’
    • ‘Catherine Wyn-Rogers, one of Britain's most acclaimed mezzo-sopranos and much loved by Proms audiences, sings Sir Edward Elgar's ravishing Sea Pictures.’
    • ‘This is music theatre in all but name, and the Lamento della Ninfa, gorgeously sung by mezzo Bernarda Fink while a trio of male voices supply the chorus, could have been lifted from the pages of one of the late operas, too.’
    • ‘The role of the Grand Duchess is not one that we might associate with Felicity Lott; it was in fact written for a mezzo-soprano.’
    • ‘Madrigals for multiple voices are reconfigured for performance by a single mezzo-soprano and instruments - and not authentic ones, either!’
    • ‘There's nothing wrong with that (the soprano and mezzo who sang in the premiere were Verdi's original Aïda and Amneris).’
    • ‘The mezzo-soprano, Hilary Summers, has a dark, smoky voice - at times she almost sounds like a countertenor - and she sings René Char's surreal text with both passion and clenched-jaw control.’
    • ‘Canadian mezzo Allyson McHardy sings and acts Butterfly's servant, Suzuki, with care and sensitivity.’
    • ‘If Handel wanted a young lover then he wrote for castrato or female mezzo-soprano.’
    • ‘Patrice Jegou is a mezzo-soprano, soon to be teaching voice at the University of Lethbridge.’
    • ‘‘As was the case in all of Verdi's early operas,’ writes Said with a wink, ‘Aïda is about a tenor and a soprano who want to make love but are prevented by a baritone and a mezzo.’’
    • ‘The mezzo-soprano also proved that she is still the only Bulgarian singer to have mastered unaccented pronunciation of German and a clear diction, so essential to the art of singing.’
    • ‘And with a soprano taking the role, rather than a mezzo-soprano, for once the two divas were equals in their fireworks.’
    • ‘Also in Venice he met, and soon after married, the mezzo-soprano Faustina Bordoni, one of the finest singers of her time.’
    • ‘The bass was Georg Zeppenfeld, but outshining everyone was the mezzo Angelika Kirschschlager, electrifyingly intense in all she sang.’
    • ‘The competitors will be judged by a stellar panel made up of mezzo-sopranos Teresa Berganza and Marilyn Horne, soprano Grace Bumbry, tenor Jon Vickers, basses Cesare Siepi and Joseph Rouleau and musicologist Gilles Cantagrel.’
    • ‘Jan DeGaetani was a mezzo-soprano with a unique voice, range of repertoire, and persona.’
    1. 1.1A singing voice of the mezzo type, or a part written for one.
      ‘the able mezzo of Melanie Sonnenberg as Clarice’
      [as modifier] ‘Della Jones brings a new vitality to her mezzo arias’
      • ‘Both have lovely, warm mezzo voices and Mijanovic captured Radamisto's haunted intensity from the start.’
      • ‘I have, on the other hand, a soft spot for soprano and mezzo arias - Kiri Te Kanawa and Edita Gruberova are old-time icons of mine.’
      • ‘‘The Only Son,’ from 1947, is actually a little scena for mezzo, tenor, and baritone, with piano.’
      • ‘A few days before that concert, the faculty member slated to sing the mezzo role had cancelled, and Hanslowe was called to substitute.’
      • ‘Jennie Tourel and Christa Ludwig are the respective mezzo soloists.’
      • ‘Jeanette Ager sings with great conviction, and her superb mezzo voice, together with her accuracy of pitch and beauty of phrasing characterises her enterprising approach to these songs.’
      • ‘Backed by a 12-person choir, the quartet's hitherto hidden voices hold their own, controlling the mezzo range nicely.’
      • ‘Ina Schlingensipen and Emilia Boteva, soprano and mezzo soloists respectively, sing very well indeed.’
      • ‘The other big question mark was Olga Borodina, whose vocal and physical glamour is real but not the sort one associates with the technical bravura and pinpoint articulation needed for one of Rossini's resourceful mezzo minxes.’
      • ‘In fact, she is quite convincing throughout and possesses one of those rare mezzo voices that never turn thick or heavy and always maintain a vocal beauty.’
      • ‘Above all, it had the dominant presence of Veronica Dunne in the dark mezzo role of the sinister Countess.’
      • ‘This summer she returns to her mezzo roots to play Carmen, a role that brings her career full circle.’
      • ‘Manistina, while not a great actress, sang the challenging role admirably with her well-sounding, stable mezzo and garnered much applause.’
      • ‘The high notes just came, and now I am able to sing the equivalent of a female high mezzo and some of the female high soprano notes as well.’
      • ‘Bernarda Fink seduced us all with her sensuously exhaled Shéhérazade, her velvet mezzo timbre allied to clear and idiomatic delivery of Tristan Klingsor's ambivalently erotic texts.’
      • ‘Elaine Wagner's mezzo voice sounds weary, but she's laughing a little - at his expense, no doubt.’


Mid 18th century: Italian, from Latin medius middle.