My wife and I have been
attending the Saturday Live from the Met
series at the State Theater in Traverse City, Michigan. One of the intermission
features is an interview with the cast.
During the course of his
interview last weekend, Eric Owens, who played the Water Gnome in Dvorak’s Rusalka, said something like this: “I
once auditioned for a role even though it was barely in my fa.” Neither of us
had heard the term before.
It turns out that it’s spelled
fach, and it’s a German word meaning classification, specialty, or category. In
the 19th century, to make auditions and casting more efficient,
German opera houses created a system of distinct voice categories, called the
Each singer was assigned
to a category (traditionally, there are 25 of them), and each role in every
opera was tagged with a category. It prevented the frustration of auditioning
for a role not in your voice range, and it gave the casting director access to precisely
the voice ranges that he or she needed.
Listen to Mike’s program in real
time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com
and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll
also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.