Definition of coloratura in US English:



  • 1Elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody, especially in operatic singing by a soprano.

    • ‘She may lack Bartoli's vocal virtuosity and sparkling stage personality, but her Angelina conveys its own quiet charm, and Rossini's florid coloratura writing never fazes her.’
    • ‘Thousands greeted Jenny Lind's arrival in New York Harbour but they expected to hear coloratura fireworks, not art songs of Mendelssohn.’
    • ‘The real vocal star is Katharine Goeldner as the knight Ruggiero, giving as spectacular a demonstration of mezzo-soprano coloratura virtuosity as you are likely to hear anywhere today.’
    • ‘The musical style is full of charming melodies and a lightness of touch, a predilection for woodwind, simple diatonic writing contrasted by more chromatic and coloratura writing for the heroic and virtuous characters.’
    • ‘In the mid 19th century the increase in the size of opera houses and concert halls meant that there was an increased emphasis on singers' power at the expense of agility and less emphasis on coloratura.’
    • ‘With her volleys of coloratura and seductive (yet false) warmth, she is a stunner.’
    • ‘You can't relax your brain even for a second, otherwise you will lose a lot of notes doing those fast coloraturas.’
    • ‘Their legacy is a series of low coloratura contralto roles which serve to add variety and depth to the operas.’
    • ‘Her coloratura singing was often breathtaking!’
    • ‘Not only does she trill and sing accurate coloratura, she also gives a searing portrayal of Irene.’
    • ‘Yet she must also be able to sing a delicate cantabile line (with beautiful pianissimos) and brilliant coloratura.’
    • ‘So, to me, this part is not just about coloratura acrobatics.’
    • ‘Some may be put off by the sheer ferocity of her coloratura and expressive devices, but I find them apt, thrilling, and awesomely accurate.’
    • ‘She sings some of the most challenging coloraturas ever written and it must be stated that Slawitscheck has a wonderful voice able to master these difficult musical problems.’
    • ‘Although singing most of the time only mezzo forte, his pronunciation is good, his coloraturas flow weightlessly and his piano is clear and sure.’
    • ‘Erna Berger was born in 1900 near Dresden, and by the time she was 30, she had made a name for herself in Germany singing light soprano and coloratura roles.’
    • ‘At that audition I did not have any Baroque arias prepared so I sang my usual bel canto coloratura and he hired me on the spot.’
    • ‘The brilliant coloratura, effortless vocal dynamics, and beautifully rounded tone brought Joan Sutherland to mind.’
    • ‘John Pead, tenor, started our programme with two arias from Handel's Rodelinda, showing a considerable virtuosity, the first with elaborate coloratura, the second more melancholy and sustained.’
    • ‘Giovanna's coloratura holds no terrors for her, and the assurance of her technique - every note is hit dead on - is matched only by her assured interpretation.’
    1. 1.1 A soprano skilled in coloratura.
      • ‘Already considered one of the most exciting performers in the new generation of lyric coloratura sopranos, Mary has played many of the world's most famous operatic heroines on many of the leading stages around the world.’
      • ‘The second movement challenges the soloist's control and virtuosity with sustained high notes that must ring out over the accompaniment, and with rapid figurations, like a coloratura soprano's vocal exercises.’
      • ‘Thomas had to produce a vehicle for the rather grand Swedish coloratura soprano Christine Nilsson.’
      • ‘A dumpy coloratura soprano, her voice was not even mediocre, it was preposterous.’
      • ‘I am sometimes surprised that coloratura sopranos ever want to sing this role, since the subtext of it is that what coloraturas do is mechanical: spin the crank and listen to the high notes!’
      • ‘Yet again prolific American composer Libby Larsen has occupied the operatic limelight - this time with a drama focussing on coloratura soprano Jenny Lind, once dubbed ‘The Swedish Nightingale’.’
      • ‘Technically, she was a coloratura soprano, but her voice has none of the twittery or harsh qualities that one sometimes finds in French coloraturas.’
      • ‘The original Lucy was a coloratura soprano, but she withdrew from the production because she thought it was immoral.’
      • ‘After retiring as a dancer she turned to singing and began a new career as a coloratura soprano in Italy in 1938.’
      • ‘Tenor Kei Fukui and coloratura soprano Yumika Watanabe delighted audiences with pieces from Rossini, Puccini and others.’
      • ‘German coloratura soprano Erna Berger managed to avoid most of the controversy that surrounded some German musicians in the years during and immediately following World War Two.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it is not just a speciality item either, and anyone with curiosity about this era of singing - or looking for a fairly unknown coloratura soprano to enjoy - should not hesitate to acquire this pair of inexpensive discs.’
      • ‘I was pleased also to find two recordings by Toti Dal Monte, a great Italian coloratura who participated (with Gigli) in one of the finest recordings of Madama Butterfly.’
      • ‘My voice had only just changed, and though I was obviously a coloratura, my top left much to be desired.’
      • ‘Anne-Marie Brownhill's Cosette was surprisingly mature and self-assured, and her voice had a depth of tone not often heard in coloratura sopranos.’


Italian, literally ‘coloring’, from Latin colorare ‘to color’.