#WordWednesday: Cadenza

CADENZA (19 Scrabble points) – Italian – A cadenza is an elaborate section (sometimes improvised) towards the end of an aria that allows the singer to really showcase what their voice can do, like the below “Flute Cadenza” in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

Interestingly enough, Donizetti never wrote such a section into his original score for Lucia. The section was added to showcase Nellie Melba’s coloratura singing during an 1889 performance at The Paris Opera. Other famous singers (Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, and Beverly Sills) added their own flavor when playing Lucia. Check out Diana Damrau (who will play all four heroines in our 16/17 production of Tales of Hoffmann) tackling Lucia’s entire mad scene below, including the famous cadenza.


Can’t get enough Diana Damrau? Get to know Diana Damrau in the articles that follow and get in the Damrau spirit.

Princess Di – via Opera News

There are singers who captivate us with their pure vocal beauty, and there are singers who overwhelm us with their heart and generosity. Then there are those whose keen intelligence, revealed from one stage moment to another, is what we remember most. They may have beautiful voices too, but it is their uncanny ability to illuminate their roles, both powerfully and subtly, that lingers. Some of the smartest stage performers of the past few decades include Hildegard Behrens, Régine Crespin, Elisabeth Söderström, Lauren Flanigan, Jon Vickers, Thomas Allen, Simon Keenlyside and Gerald Finley. It’s taking nothing away from Diana Damrau’s entrancing voice and dazzling coloratura facility to say that this brand of musical and theatrical intelligence is the greatest weapon in her performer’s arsenal.

Diva Du Jour – via The New York Times

“Peter Gelb asked me what we can do,” she said, a little bashfully, referring to the Met’s general manager in an interview after the shopping excursion. “They’ve done quite a lot of titles for my voice. And I said, ‘Pearl Fishers.’ Yes, the story is a little trivial, and the surprises at the end are almost too much. But I choose this opera because I love it.”

For information about and tickets to our current season, click here. To find out more about of 16/17 season, check out our website.

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