Opera singing is a high-wire profession. Only the most tone-deaf will not wince when a note is off. It is all too obvious when part of a role lies too high, or too low or, indeed, hovers too much around the centre of the voice, for a particular singer. Audiences reach out in empathy when a singer arrives ‘sung out’ at the end of an opera… or prepare to boo.

Dancers, and certainly actors, can fudge it a little. Modify a step or change the staging. If you are an actor and you dry, you can add in a dramatic pause, or make a bit up; try that when you’re singing with an orchestra and chorus.

What happens if you get a soprano, mezzo, tenor and bass together? Well, they could make beautiful music together, or they could answer some impertinent questions about how an opera singer chooses and prepares for a role.

Barbara Frittoli, Jennifer Larmore, Gregory Kunde and Luca Pisaroni make up our stellar quartet.

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