Traditional Soprano

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Is it better to be a mezzo-soprano or a soprano?

Which is better (or rather, opens up more opportunities for a singer)?
Also, why and for which genre of music?

I always thought soprano was the desired voice type, but an opera singer recently told me to be a mezzo-soprano gives you more potential as, with training, you can easily reach the soprano range and...I don' remember the rest. Haha.

Which voice type is best for musical theatre?

Thanks :)
Actually, she wasn't a professional singer or anything, but she is a soprano who wishes she was a mezzo (for some strange reason).

It definitely depends. For opera, sopranos get the leading roles usually (apart from in operas such as Carmen, where the lead is a mezzo, I believe) and are generally more popular as people often only want to hear the very high, exciting notes, so if you're a soprano you have more chance of being in the limelight when performing in operas, however there are a lot of good sopranos out there so competition is quite fierce. Also, yes, mezzos do sometimes try to do soprano roles, making it even more difficult for the true sopranos! However, mezzos never sound as good as true sopranos in that range, plus sopranos can often sing mezzo roles too (again, not as well as a mezzo would), but either way it is much healthier for the voice and the career will last longer if they stick to the correct role for their voice. So I'd say it's better to be a soprano if you want to perform in operas and be famous, but if you do classical concerts then mezzos can really shine too and it doesn't matter as much. In the end though, it's not actually better to be one or the other overall, really a good mezzo is going to be better than an average soprano (plus there aren't as many famous mezzos so less competition). It's no good trying to be a famous soprano if you are one, but you don't have a really high range.

In fact, hearing a female contralto singing the tenor range can be just as exciting as a soprano singing an F above high C, but it does depend on the audience. I prefer soprano voices, my family prefer mezzos and altos.

In terms of musical theatre, again, most of the lead roles are written for sopranos, BUT recently it's become very popular for mezzos to take these parts and belt the high notes, as generally musical theatre soprano songs aren't very high at all. So at the moment it's probably better to be a mezzo if you're doing musical theatre (although sopranos can learn to belt) or even an alto! Although personally I prefer the traditional sopranos singing the correct roles, but that's just me!

For pop, I get the impression you can be absolutely anything, although mezzos and altos are very popular.

In rock, altos seem to win!

I'm curious, was the opera singer who talked to you a mezzo herself, by any chance?

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