Lyric tenor (Fr. ténor lyrique; Ger. lirischer Tenor; It. tenore lirico)
- J.B. Steane
(Fr. ténor lyrique; Ger. lirischer Tenor; It. tenore lirico)
Tenors of the lighter sort will not be required to contend with heavy orchestration or to raise their voices in strenuous declamation, and therefore (the theory goes) can concentrate on the production of beautiful tone and evenness of line. In this way they will bring grace to the composer’s melodies: hence ‘lyric’. (The lighter kind of lyric tenor is also known as Tenore di grazia (opera) .) As the tenor became increasingly important in opera during the latter half of the 18th century, he found himself having two main dramatic functions to fulfil, those of hero and lover. Where the role was largely confined to the part of lover it fell essentially to the lyric tenor; so Ferrando and Don Ottavio (but not Idomeneus) in Mozart are taken by the lyric tenor, as also Almaviva, Lindoro and Don Ramiro (but not Arnold or Otello) in Rossini. Tenors who specialize in operas of this period and who include in their repertory parts such as Arturo in ...