noun, often attributive
col·​or·​a·​tu·​ra | \ ˌkə-lə-rə-ˈtu̇r-ə How to pronounce coloratura (audio) , -ˈtyu̇r- \

Definition of coloratura

1 : elaborate embellishment in vocal music broadly : music with ornate figuration
2 : a soprano with a light agile voice specializing in coloratura

Examples of coloratura in a Sentence

a performance without much coloratura
Recent Examples on the Web And Kyaunnee Richardson is especially memorable with a beautifully playful coloratura and a winning way with a snarky aside. Matthew J. Palm,, 18 Dec. 2020 Known for long phrases with boundless colors, emotions and dynamics, Rae’s coloratura soared effortlessly with a glittery vibrato, especially in the Richard Strauss and Fanny Mendelssohn pieces. Grace Jean, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2019 His agility might be compared to that of a coloratura soprano. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2020 With immaculate coloratura chops and nuanced acting, soprano Helen Zhibing Huang illustrated Singa’s transformation from American Dream almost-believer to awakened ally., 22 Sep. 2019 Meade showed her credentials as the perfect coloratura. Peter Dobrin,, 8 Jan. 2018 In arias, the coloratura writing is often intense, so that — as in some Handel operas, only more so — each character plunges at once into a vortex of emotion conveyed by the knots and chains of the rapid-moving vocal line. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2018 Meade showed her credentials as the perfect coloratura. Peter Dobrin,, 8 Jan. 2018 My mother, Lucille Potter Lavin, was a singer, an opera singer, with a very beautiful lyric coloratura and a brief but dazzling career in New York. Linda Lavin, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coloratura.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of coloratura

circa 1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for coloratura

borrowed from 17th-century Italian, "coloring," from Latin colōrātus, past participle of colōrāre "to color entry 2" + Italian -ura -ure

Note: Though conventionally attributed to Italian in German dictionaries since the 17th century, the word apparently first appears in a musical sense in German (as Coloraturen, given as a synonym of Latin Diminutiones "diminutions," in Michael Praetorius, Syntagmatis musici tomus tertius, Wolfenbüttel, 1619, p. 232).

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The first known use of coloratura was circa 1740

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Cite this Entry

“Coloratura.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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