Talk Like An Opera Geek: Vocal Tricks And Trills

Baffled by buffo? Talking about opera can be like walking through a linguistic thicket. (iStock)

(Talk Like An Opera Geek attempts to decode the intriguing and intimidating lexicon of the opera house.)

Ever been to a cocktail party and feel totally lost when some know-it-all opera jerk spouts on about "the mezzo-soprano's ornamentation in the cabaletta lacked a certain bel canto sensibility, and because of the high tessitura, she sounded like little more than a comedia dell'arte soubrette in her secco recitative."

Fear not. Read on — and hear the musical excerpts — and you'll be able to fire back with opera jargon of your own and actually have some idea of what you're talking about.

Opera — like wine, baseball or deep sea diving — has its own special vernacular which we'll try to decode and disentangle. In the coming weeks we'll tackle opera styles, voice and role types, and general musical palaver.

To fire up the series, this week we'll break down a few vocal tricks and styles of singing.

Got any jargon you would like deciphered? Let us know in the comments section.

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