mezzo-soprano (It.). Half-soprano. Female (or artificial male) v. midway between sop. and cont. Vocal range from B below middle C upwards for 2 octaves. Several operatic roles written for sops. are traditionally sung by and better suited to mezzos, e.g. Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Carmen, Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier, the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. Occasionally a singer will describe herself as ‘mezzo-contralto’, meaning a little lower in range than mezzo-soprano.
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