Tenors playing roles written for basses and baritones.:

Total posts: [25]
It seriously irritates me. As if most male roles in musical theatre nowadays weren't tenors already, now they start casting tenors in roles that are not written for them. Examples of this annoyance:

Jose Carreras as Emile de Becque in a South Pacific recording.

Placido Domingo as Don Quixote in a Man of La Mancha recording (when they had Samuel Ramey playing the innkeeper, of all things).

Drew Sarich as Javert in Les Miserables.

Howard Mc Gillin as Mack Sennett in Mack and Mabel. (no, I don't care what wikipedia says, his singing in the South Park movie sure didn't sound like baritone to me)

Alexander Gemignani as John Hinckley in Assassins, the Boatman in Sunday in the Park with George, and the title role in Sweeney Todd.

Also read something about a tenor playing the role of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors in a touring production or something.

Saw the Farewell Tour for Jesus Christ Superstar (which I thought was lousy, anyway), and in the "This Jesus Must Die" song, there are three high priests - a tenor, a baritone, and a bass. The one that was supposed to be a bass... wasn't. He just didn't sing down there. The guy playing Caiaphas had also played Che in Evita, and so sounded like a tenor on the high notes, but at least he had the low notes, so not sure whether to complain there.

And in the tour of Spamalot, the knight who sings "I have to push the pram-alot" was barely audible.

And then there's all the Urinetown videos on Youtube where the guy playing Officer Lockstock can't sing the opening song to save his life.

It irritates me. It seriously irritates me.

edited 30th Mar '11 9:48:01 AM by Pannic

3 Firestarter30th Mar 2011 12:52:05 PM from over the rainbow , Relationship Status: With my statistically significant other
Sorceress Bookwench
Audrey 2. A tenor. Audrey sounds like a Scary Black Man! No way in hell can he be a tenor. I refuse to accept this. Where did you read this?

Also, barely related IJBM: Every girl role ever is a soprano. WHY?
Everything happens for a reason. The reason is a chaotic intersection of chance and the laws of physics.
[up] Though lately, the mezzos and altos seem to get more and more representation.
It's easy, mmkay?
Eh, I've seen worse.

Namely, an alto plant.

edited 30th Mar '11 4:59:07 PM by PDown

At first I didn't realize I needed all this stuff...
Well, I read there was a touring production of the show at one point where they cast a tenor, and transposed the songs up.

One of the basses on the forum said "so the tenors now steal the bass supporting roles now. Wonderful."

As for sopranos, nah, nowadays most female roles are belters.

At university, I met a girl who wanted to play the plant. Thought it'd give it a more "sexual" angle. And also at university, I met a tenor who played Officer Lockstock (which I didn't complain too much about, because that'd be a little rude).

edited 30th Mar '11 6:09:13 PM by Pannic

My school's production of Little Shop had a tenor as the plant, and people were asking how we linked up the recording to the show. However, this may not be so strange as he's a black guy with a ridiculous range, and I think he usually just ends up as a tenor because our school has maybe 7 of them, 2-3 of which do theatre. Our chorus has a really low alto in the tenor section.
[up] If the music doesn't have to be transposed, then that's not what we're complaining about.
Dat Troper
I don't think an alto Audrey II would really be a big deal, actually. I'd say it's better than a tenor. I mean, she'd have to be good- a real contralto, with a natural deep voice, who can fit her voice to the plant without trying too hard and creating a really fake character voice, who's good with inflection and really able to be the character, persuasive, and I don't think there's any way you could have a girl plant without undertones of seduction, so she'd have to be able to play on that. But if you had all that, I think it could be really interesting.
10 JHM5th May 2011 01:19:21 AM from Neither Here Nor There , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Thunder, Perfect Mind
As a bass myself, I find the idea that tenors stealing the few jobs available to basses and baritones from them utterly ludicrous and frankly just obnoxious.

edited 5th May '11 1:19:56 AM by JHM

Thank you. That's exactly how I feel.
As a mezzo-soprano, I can understand where you're coming from. About half of the roles in musicals are for mezzos and the other half are for sopranos, so being on the lower end of mezzo soprano, it's kind of hard to get roles. But I'm still in High School, so I'm not worried just yet.
Ich bin nicht schuld! 's ist Gottes Plan!
I support your cause wholeheartedly.

The bass is the most beautiful human voice type. It has a depth, a power and a warmth to it which no tenor will ever be able to duplicate. Tenors "stealing" bass roles is thus not only cruel to bass singers, but also to the audience: due to the prominence of tenors, there are few opportunities already for us to hear the thunder of masculinity that is a good bass voice... and those grow even fewer if bass roles are transposed for some tenor to sing.

Talking about transposing music, I often imagine what the Ride of the Valkyries would sound like if all the vocal parts were transposed several octaves downwards, and performed by basses. I think it would be awesome.
It's easy, mmkay?
About how rare are people capable of performing well as a tenor or as a bass without transposing in either case?
At first I didn't realize I needed all this stuff...
Well, microphones have a lot to do with it - they allow tenors to pretend they can sing low notes.
I saw "Les Miserables" last night. Great performance. Except the guy playing Javert, in his bio, mentioned that he had also played Valjean in the same musical, as well as the title role in "The Student Prince."

17 MilosStefanovic2nd Jul 2011 11:07:02 AM from White City, Ruritania
A tenor (with an extended lower range, G2-C5) reporting.

True, it is very unfortunate. If I could choose, I would much prefer to be a bass or baritone, and, frankly, tenors are overrated. I'm not sure about the reason, but I guess it has to do with tenors usually being lead roles in operas, and thus getting the best arias, so they started gaining popularity over other voice types since the 19th century.

Basses and baritones are already underrepresented, and it's really a pity that this is happening. Well, this is capitalism, and tenors are popular, so there's money to be made there.
The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
It's easy, mmkay?
I am in the unfortunate delimma where I am too low to sing higher tenor but I am too high to sing bass well. What am I?
At first I didn't realize I needed all this stuff...
19 MilosStefanovic2nd Jul 2011 01:54:00 PM from White City, Ruritania
Hmmm... can you first tell us your exact voice range? If you don't know it, find out here:

The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
[up][up] Baritone?
[up][up][up] Also keep in mind that a bass' voice won't develop fully until much later in his life than a tenor's. So if you are still in your twenties or younger, you still have a ways to go.
Three-Puppet Saluter
I can cope with it, if they'll also let altos replace sopranos now and again. Oh, and also if the tenor in question can sing, Johnny Depp.
Hail Martin Septim!
Three-Puppet Saluter
In the first production of Little Shop of Horrors I've ever seen, Audrey II was played by a throaty contralto. It was glorious, and it should be a female part more often.
Hail Martin Septim!
reading comprehension fail.

edited 11th Jul '11 1:29:25 PM by Pannic

Dat Troper
^^ @.@ Playing Audrey II would be awesome. I want.
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Total posts: 25