Definition of mezzo in English:


(also mezzo-soprano)


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Patrice Jegou is a mezzo-soprano, soon to be teaching voice at the University of Lethbridge.’
    • ‘If Handel wanted a young lover then he wrote for castrato or female mezzo-soprano.’
    • ‘Also in Venice he met, and soon after married, the mezzo-soprano Faustina Bordoni, one of the finest singers of her time.’
    • ‘Madrigals for multiple voices are reconfigured for performance by a single mezzo-soprano and instruments - and not authentic ones, either!’
    • ‘Although Kelley O'Connor lists herself as a mezzo-soprano, she has a rich, incredibly deep voice that is quite unusual.’
    • ‘The bass was Georg Zeppenfeld, but outshining everyone was the mezzo Angelika Kirschschlager, electrifyingly intense in all she sang.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’’
    • ‘Canadian mezzo Allyson McHardy sings and acts Butterfly's servant, Suzuki, with care and sensitivity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And with a soprano taking the role, rather than a mezzo-soprano, for once the two divas were equals in their fireworks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Elina Garanca's voice is somewhat lighter than the other mezzo-sopranos which results in a good contrast.’
    • ‘Jan DeGaetani was a mezzo-soprano with a unique voice, range of repertoire, and persona.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She negotiates the most incredibly florid passages with imperious authority, and she sings with the passion that other mezzos reserve for Amneris or Eboli.’
    • ‘There's nothing wrong with that (the soprano and mezzo who sang in the premiere were Verdi's original Aïda and Amneris).’
    1. 1.1 A mezzo singing voice, or a part written for one.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Backed by a 12-person choir, the quartet's hitherto hidden voices hold their own, controlling the mezzo range nicely.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ina Schlingensipen and Emilia Boteva, soprano and mezzo soloists respectively, sing very well indeed.’
      • ‘A few days before that concert, the faculty member slated to sing the mezzo role had cancelled, and Hanslowe was called to substitute.’
      • ‘Elaine Wagner's mezzo voice sounds weary, but she's laughing a little - at his expense, no doubt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both have lovely, warm mezzo voices and Mijanovic captured Radamisto's haunted intensity from the start.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘The Only Son,’ from 1947, is actually a little scena for mezzo, tenor, and baritone, with piano.’
      • ‘Jennie Tourel and Christa Ludwig are the respective mezzo soloists.’
      • ‘Manistina, while not a great actress, sang the challenging role admirably with her well-sounding, stable mezzo and garnered much applause.’
      • ‘This summer she returns to her mezzo roots to play Carmen, a role that brings her career full circle.’
      • ‘Above all, it had the dominant presence of Veronica Dunne in the dark mezzo role of the sinister Countess.’


  • Half, moderately.


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