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Recommended arias for singers

If you'd like to try performing American opera in a recital or workshop, here are a few suggestions.

usopera.com recommends:

G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Mezzo-Soprano
A collection of arias for singers from American operas published by Schirmer.

Arias for soprano | Arias for mezzo-soprano | Arias for contralto | Arias for tenor | Arias for baritone | Arias for bass | Duets and scenes

Arias for soprano

"Oh woo a woman not with sentimental glances"

sung by Roxane in Cyrano by Walter Damrosch

first performed by Frances Alda

A lightweight but sparkling coloratura entrance aria for Roxane.

"To this we've come"

sung by Magda Sorel in The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti

first performed by Patricia Neway

In one of Menotti's most powerful arias, Magda Sorel condemns the inhumanizing bureacracy that has destroyed her last chance at freedom. A true showstopper in the hands of a soprano with a good instrument and a dramatic sense.

"Sola, abbandonata"

sung by Mary Stuart in David Rizzio by Mary Carr Moore

first performed by Dorothy Francis

Mary I, Queen of Scotland, raised in France and hated by her subjects for her Catholic religion, laments her solitary position.

Arias for mezzo-soprano

"Ah! Michele, don't you know"

sung by Desidera in The Saint of Bleecker Street by Gian Carlo Menotti

Arias for contralto

"My one consolation"

sung by Marilyn Klinghoffer in The Death of Klinghoffer by John Adams

first performed by Sheila Nader

Not knowing her husband Leon has been shot, Marilyn sings about her own physical pain and about how Leon copes with his paralysis.

"You embraced them!"

sung by Marilyn Klinghoffer in The Death of Klinghoffer by John Adams

first performed by Sheila Nader

In the opera's final aria, Marilyn, having just learned that her husband has been shot, lashes out at the Captain for cooperating with the hijackers before mourning for her husband, remembering their life together and imagining his death. As the aria ends, she wishes that she had died as well.

Baba's Aria

sung by Madame Flora in The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti

first performed by Claramae Turner

The fraud of a medium, frightened by a real phenomenon she cannot explain, drinks herself to sleep.

"Whoa-oop! God save this merry company!"

sung by Alisoun (the Wife of Bath) in The Canterbury Pilgrims by Reginald De Koven

first performed by Margaret Ober

Alisoun in De Koven's The Canterbury Pilgrims is a rarity, a principal role written for contralto. This is her entrance aria.

"Shall we ever see"

sung by The Mother in The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti

first performed by Marie Powers

In this brief aria, Magda's mother wonders whether her children or grandchildren will see the end of the political oppression in their country.

"I shall find for you shells and stars"

sung by The Mother in The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti

first performed by Marie Powers

Magda's mother sings a lullaby to her grandchild and a lament for herself

Arias for tenor

"Outside this house the world has changed"

sung by Anatol in Vanessa by Samuel Barber

first performed by Nicolai Gedda

Anatol tells Erika that he will not offer her eternal love, but he can offer her friendship and pleasure.

"Once when I was a young man"

sung by Mr. Owen (the man with a paint box) in Postcard from Morocco by Dominick Argento

first performed by Vern Sutton

Mr. Owen sings about an imaginary ship he saw when he was a child.

"A mighty mass of brick"

sung by Byron in Lord Byron by Virgil Thomson

first performed by Grayson Hirst

Byron sings an ode to London, after living abroad for many years.

"I'm getting tired of travellin' through"

sung by Martin in The Tender Land by Aaron Copland

Martin invites Laurie to run away with him and start a new life on a farm somewhere.

Arias for baritone

"And this will be my epitaph"

sung by David in A Hand Of Bridge by Samuel Barber

first performed by Renée Miville

David hates his job and bored with his wife and friends. As he plays his regular game of bridge, he daydreams about a life of wealth and excess. In the end he realizes that even if he became rich, his life would still stay much the same.

"It's me, O Lord"

sung by Brutus Jones in The Emperor Jones by Louis Gruenberg

first performed by Lawrence Tibbett

Alone in the jungle, with the drums approaching, Jones prays for help.

Arias for bass

"Thank you, San Francisco"

sung by George Moscone in Harvey Milk by Stewart Wallace

The newly elected Mayor Moscone leads a victory rally.

Duets and scenes

"Rise up, my love, my fair one"

sung by Wrestling Bradford and Marigold Sandys in Merry Mount by Howard Hanson

An extended love duet for soprano and tenor in the Wagnerian tradition.