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The Color and the Fast Notes

Twenty-year-old coloratura soprano Alize Rozsnyai has been singing since age two, graduating early from Rancho Bernardo High School in 2006 with an album entitled Sweet Sixteen already under her belt.

“I still live in San Diego,” says Rozsnyai, “which is my family’s home, while pursuing a bachelor’s of music in voice performance at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where I’m a junior. I also travel weekly to New York to study voice with W. Stephen Smith, a faculty member at Juilliard.

“In general, the gist of the opera singer’s education is as follows, though each singer’s path is different: undergrad degree in music, grad degree in music, enter a young-artist program with a regional opera company and get to know professionals and sing small roles, get noticed, sing in small opera houses, get a manager or win competitions in order to get a manager, and it just keeps building from there.…”

“In the opera world,” explains Rozsnyai, “a coloratura singer is one who is able to sing many fast notes, such as scales, arpeggiations, and ornamentation. Sometimes these are written in by the composer, and sometimes the artist will invent embellishments themselves.

“A coloratura is therefore a soprano who deals with these sorts of passages but also generally has a higher range than most sopranos, which extends as high as an F above high C. Most other types of sopranos will have high C as the highest in their performed repertoire.”

A classic example of a coloratura soprano role is the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Rozsnyai mentions that she used to be known as Alyze, though, “I changed the spelling of my first name in the fourth grade to be different from my mom Alyze. Around then I started getting my own mail and payments from when I was in a play at the Old Globe Theatre.”

Rozsnyai’s late father Zoltén Rozsnyai was the music director of the San Diego Symphony from 1967 to 1971)

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?

1) Oriental Music Ensemble, Emm el Khilkhal. “The music is soothing, and it’s great to listen to the exotic instrumentation.”

2) Edith Piaf, The Voice of the Sparrow. “The upbeat nature of the song ‘Milord’ puts me in a good mood before an audition. The lyrics refer to God as a friend you would help out, just walking on the street.”

3) “On a more general basis, lately I’ve enjoyed listening to Beirut, Venus Hum, Rufus Wainwright, Radiohead, IAMX, and Joanna Newsom.”

MUST-HAVE DVDs?

1) The Labyrinth. “From 1986, by Jim Henson and with David Bowie as the Goblin King.”

2) Beverly Sills: Made in America. “A biographical DVD about the soprano, with old home movies.”

FAVORITE QUOTE?

“ ‘Fear is in the eye of the beholder.’ I really think this is true. Whether or not your dreams can be accomplished is all up to you and how you interpret your obstacles. Even if you must fool yourself into thinking something is not as scary as it really is.”

WHAT’S SCARIER — SPIDERS OR MICE?

“I welcome them all into my apartment, as long as they maintain their living space apart from my food preparation. Animals had their homes here first.”

FINISH THIS SENTENCE: “IF I COULDN’T SING…”

“…I would definitely be a dancer.”

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY?

“I recommend Dinotopia by James Gurney to anyone, though it’s found in the juvenile literature section. The illustrations are fantastic, and the principles can be applied to our own lives and how we treat each other and our environment, even though there aren’t any dinosaurs around today.”

FAVORITE OPERA ROLE?

“I enjoy portraying Marie from La Fille du Régiment by Donizetti because the story concerns a girl who is raised by an entire regiment of soldiers in France, and she’s practically a soldier herself, in every sense of the word. So many things about this opera are incredibly hilarious, if really played on.”

MOST DIFFICULT ROLE?

“Any piece that I can’t connect to dramatically, when not enough information is given, or when the character is very one-dimensional and does not evolve during the plot. It makes it tough to find ways to bring meaning to the piece.”

MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS?

“I have a stack of every issue of Opera News from the past two years under my coffee table. I’m also just beginning a subscription of Scientific American Mind.”

MOST-VISITED WEBSITES?

1) Google.com. “Everything can be found there, including my mail.”

2) YAPtracker.com. “The Young Artist Program Tracker is where most every summer program, main-stage opera audition, and scholarship competition posting can be found and organized in a nifty calendar.”

3) Pandora.com. “A useful internet-radio-streaming utility.”

4) Craigslist.org. “I think taking advantage of barter within the community is a great idea, rather than always getting things brand new.”

5) Facebook.com. “I’ve wanted to delete it many times, but it’s a great tool for keeping in contact with fellow opera singers I’ve met along the way.”

THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ALIZE ROZSNYAI?

1) “I really enjoy playing and experimenting with different instruments in my free time. I just received a theremin and a lap harp for Christmas, and I also have a banjo, though the day when I actually might play these in public might not come for a while.”

2) “I have a beloved cat named Zeke that I found in a Target parking lot, whom I take with me on airplanes and to and from school.”

3) “I have definite plans to live in a tree house that I’ve already made drawings of, and I’m working on a model of it.”

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Twenty-year-old coloratura soprano Alize Rozsnyai has been singing since age two, graduating early from Rancho Bernardo High School in 2006 with an album entitled Sweet Sixteen already under her belt.

“I still live in San Diego,” says Rozsnyai, “which is my family’s home, while pursuing a bachelor’s of music in voice performance at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where I’m a junior. I also travel weekly to New York to study voice with W. Stephen Smith, a faculty member at Juilliard.

“In general, the gist of the opera singer’s education is as follows, though each singer’s path is different: undergrad degree in music, grad degree in music, enter a young-artist program with a regional opera company and get to know professionals and sing small roles, get noticed, sing in small opera houses, get a manager or win competitions in order to get a manager, and it just keeps building from there.…”

“In the opera world,” explains Rozsnyai, “a coloratura singer is one who is able to sing many fast notes, such as scales, arpeggiations, and ornamentation. Sometimes these are written in by the composer, and sometimes the artist will invent embellishments themselves.

“A coloratura is therefore a soprano who deals with these sorts of passages but also generally has a higher range than most sopranos, which extends as high as an F above high C. Most other types of sopranos will have high C as the highest in their performed repertoire.”

A classic example of a coloratura soprano role is the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Rozsnyai mentions that she used to be known as Alyze, though, “I changed the spelling of my first name in the fourth grade to be different from my mom Alyze. Around then I started getting my own mail and payments from when I was in a play at the Old Globe Theatre.”

Rozsnyai’s late father Zoltén Rozsnyai was the music director of the San Diego Symphony from 1967 to 1971)

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?

1) Oriental Music Ensemble, Emm el Khilkhal. “The music is soothing, and it’s great to listen to the exotic instrumentation.”

2) Edith Piaf, The Voice of the Sparrow. “The upbeat nature of the song ‘Milord’ puts me in a good mood before an audition. The lyrics refer to God as a friend you would help out, just walking on the street.”

3) “On a more general basis, lately I’ve enjoyed listening to Beirut, Venus Hum, Rufus Wainwright, Radiohead, IAMX, and Joanna Newsom.”

MUST-HAVE DVDs?

1) The Labyrinth. “From 1986, by Jim Henson and with David Bowie as the Goblin King.”

2) Beverly Sills: Made in America. “A biographical DVD about the soprano, with old home movies.”

FAVORITE QUOTE?

“ ‘Fear is in the eye of the beholder.’ I really think this is true. Whether or not your dreams can be accomplished is all up to you and how you interpret your obstacles. Even if you must fool yourself into thinking something is not as scary as it really is.”

WHAT’S SCARIER — SPIDERS OR MICE?

“I welcome them all into my apartment, as long as they maintain their living space apart from my food preparation. Animals had their homes here first.”

FINISH THIS SENTENCE: “IF I COULDN’T SING…”

“…I would definitely be a dancer.”

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY?

“I recommend Dinotopia by James Gurney to anyone, though it’s found in the juvenile literature section. The illustrations are fantastic, and the principles can be applied to our own lives and how we treat each other and our environment, even though there aren’t any dinosaurs around today.”

FAVORITE OPERA ROLE?

“I enjoy portraying Marie from La Fille du Régiment by Donizetti because the story concerns a girl who is raised by an entire regiment of soldiers in France, and she’s practically a soldier herself, in every sense of the word. So many things about this opera are incredibly hilarious, if really played on.”

MOST DIFFICULT ROLE?

“Any piece that I can’t connect to dramatically, when not enough information is given, or when the character is very one-dimensional and does not evolve during the plot. It makes it tough to find ways to bring meaning to the piece.”

MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS?

“I have a stack of every issue of Opera News from the past two years under my coffee table. I’m also just beginning a subscription of Scientific American Mind.”

MOST-VISITED WEBSITES?

1) Google.com. “Everything can be found there, including my mail.”

2) YAPtracker.com. “The Young Artist Program Tracker is where most every summer program, main-stage opera audition, and scholarship competition posting can be found and organized in a nifty calendar.”

3) Pandora.com. “A useful internet-radio-streaming utility.”

4) Craigslist.org. “I think taking advantage of barter within the community is a great idea, rather than always getting things brand new.”

5) Facebook.com. “I’ve wanted to delete it many times, but it’s a great tool for keeping in contact with fellow opera singers I’ve met along the way.”

THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ALIZE ROZSNYAI?

1) “I really enjoy playing and experimenting with different instruments in my free time. I just received a theremin and a lap harp for Christmas, and I also have a banjo, though the day when I actually might play these in public might not come for a while.”

2) “I have a beloved cat named Zeke that I found in a Target parking lot, whom I take with me on airplanes and to and from school.”

3) “I have definite plans to live in a tree house that I’ve already made drawings of, and I’m working on a model of it.”

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Comments
6

Great read, will definitely check out the music referenced in the article. My best friend when I was growing up had a sister who was studying opera, a coloratura soprano as well. The whole family had these amazing voices. I used to tell people my best friend sang better than Whitney Houston (this was when Whitney was at her prime), I don't think they believed me.

Thanks for this article, Jay.

Feb. 24, 2010

“A coloratura is therefore a soprano who deals with these sorts of passages but also generally has a higher range than most sopranos, which extends as high as an F above high C. Most other types of sopranos will have high C as the highest in their performed repertoire.”

What? I've never heard any such thing. Soprano, mezzo soprano and contralto refer to range. Coloratura refers to flexibility.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDE_eMvoKxQ

chills

Feb. 24, 2010

My understanding is that coloratura refers to a style of singing opera. I don't know that much about the technicalities of opera, though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VVmWuHsg5Q

chills

AG, I added a post on my AI thread, take a look! :)

Feb. 24, 2010

Antigeekess: I actually specifically meant a coloratura soprano, Not just a coloratura singer. You are right, every singer CAN sing coloratura, but in reference to a specific fach of singer, the above describes a coloratura soprano.

Feb. 25, 2010

Okay, Alize. Thanks for clearing that up.

And a terrific coloratura soprano you are, BTW! For the peanut gallery, I think this vid of you from a couple years ago provides a nice illustration of what we're talking about. http://www.youtube.com/user/oprafandadt#p/u/7/dAKfcBfPUMY

Love your dress in this one!
http://www.youtube.com/user/oprafandadt#p/u/5/j-axJ1CkccE

Really cute performance, too. :)

We'll keep an eye out for you at the Met.

Feb. 25, 2010

Nice, thanks, AG! :)

Feb. 26, 2010

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