Pappano's Classical Voices

Baritone & Bass

Series 1 - Episode 4 Baritone & Bass



Antonio Pappano concludes his excellent series with an exploration of the lowest male voice in its three main registers: baritone (“manly, virile”), bass (“rolling thunder”) and, between the two, the bass-baritone blending “tremendous power and authority”.

He’s helped in his mission by Bryn Terfel, John Tomlinson and Alessandro Corbelli, who speaks of “stealing breath” in fast comic songs. We also hear from Willard White and, in Russia, one of the very few living ultra-low oktavists, Vladimir Miller.

Rewardingly, Pappano ends on one of the most stirringly sonorous “popular” singers of the 20th century, Paul Robeson.


Antonio Pappano's tour of opera voice types draws to a suitable close with the lowest registers, the baritone and the bass. Typically, bass singers in opera find themselves portraying gods, demons, drunks, lechers and villains, and Antonio meets some of the Russian `oktavists' who sing a whole octave lower than the standard bass. He also explores the baritone, the most common male voice type, but one that offers the singer a wide variety of roles. Includes recorded performances by celebrated practitioners including Bryn Terfel, John Tomlinson, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Feodor Chaliapin, Tito Gobbi, Boris Christoff and Ezio Pinza. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Antonio Pappano
Director Dominic Best
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
Producer Dominic Best
Series Producer David Jeffcock
Documentary Music