Urban dictionary of Opera

The Urban dictionary of Opera

This page is a compilation of opera-related words and nicknames that come up often in (online) discussion but that you’d be hard-pressed to find in a conventional opera glossary.


  • Mezzosexual: Someone who is attracted to mezzo-sopranos when they’re playing trouser roles. The term is typically used when this is contrary to the person’s usual sexual orientation.
  • Barihunk: A hunky baritone. There’s an entire blog devoted to them.
  • Approximatura: Coloratura of questionable rhythmic or tonal accuracy.
  • Zwischy: Short for zwischenfach, a term used to describe a female singer who is somewhere between a mezzo and a soprano.
  • Squealo: Squillo is the metallic, ping-y ‘edge’ on sound, especially favored by tenors. Sometimes it gets too squeal-like.
  • Hunkentenor: Jonas Kaufmann. Possible also any other devastatingly attractive, dark-voiced tenor.
  • Parterre: The main US-focused opera gossip site. Lots of good analysis and inside information, plus a terrifyingly opinionated and often-catty group of commentators.
  • Buttery biscuit baritone: ‘They’re more refined, sophisticated, mature, and subtle than barihunks, but still hot.’

Singer nicknames

  • Jonas Kaufmann: der Jonas, JK, El Guapo
  • Anna Netrebko: Trebs, La Bellissima
  • Renée Fleming: NeNe
  • Joyce DiDonato: J-Diddy or J-Didz
  • Marina Poplavskaya: Popsy
  • Juan Diego Flórez: J-Flo
  • Anja Harteros: Die Harteros
  • Thomas Hampson: T. Hamps
  • Roberto Alagna: Roberto Lasagna
  • Beverly Sills: Bubbles
  • Marilyn Horne: Jackie
  • Frederica von Stade: Flicka
  • Joan Sutherland: La Stupenda
  • Maria Callas: La Divina
  • Plácido Domingo: Placidone, Calm Sunday
  • Giuseppe Di stefano: Pipo
  • Francisco Bonisolli: Il Pazzo

Thanks to @tinydooms@F1Annie@AkselToll@SopranoJane@stenoknight, @hertsandminds, @MargaritaMitrov and @TheJappleton for their input.

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