Is it possible that any singer has a range of three octaves? I've read that some singers have this range, but I doubt it. It seems impossible under normal circumstances.
Maybe under extraordinary circumstances and for a short duration. For instance, if you're being chased by a tiger or you're falling off a high cliff. The evidence would be anecdotal because the witnesses don't have adequate time to record the events.
Thanks. I didn't see your post. I just found her on Wikipedia. She had two names, not one.
Sumac in 1954
Sumac in 1954
Birth name Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo
Born September 10, 1922
Died November 1, 2008 (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Years active 1942–1996
Yma Sumac (/ˈiːmə ˈsuːmæk/; (September 13, 1922 (birth certificate) or September 10, 1922 (later documents) – November 1, 2008) was a Peruvian-American coloratura soprano. She was one of the most famous exponents of exotica music during the 1950s.
Sumac became an international success based on her extreme vocal range. She had five octaves according to some reports, but other reports (and recordings) document four-and-a-half at the peak of her singing career. (A typical trained singer has a range of about three octaves.) Yma Sumac sold more than 60 million records which makes her one of the best-selling Latin Americans in history and the best-selling Peruvian in history
In one live recording of "Chuncho", she sings a range of over four and a half octaves, from B2 to G♯7. She was able to sing notes in the low baritone register as well as notes above the range of an ordinary soprano. Both low and high extremes can be heard in the song "Chuncho (The Forest Creatures)" (1953). She was also apparently able to sing in a remarkable "double voice".
In 1954, composer and music critic Virgil Thomson described Sumac's voice as "very low and warm, very high and birdlike", noting that her range "is very close to five octaves, but is in no way inhuman or outlandish in sound." In 2012, audio recording restoration expert John H. Haley favorably compared Sumac's tone to opera singers Isabella Colbran, Maria Malibran, and Pauline Viardot. He described Sumac's voice as not having the "bright penetrating peal of a true coloratura soprano", but having in its place "an alluring sweet darkness ... virtually unique in our time."
I've been doing a little research and opera singers typically have a range of two octaves and sometimes up to two and a half octaves. Some tenors stretch their voice into the female range with a controlled falsetto and are called countertenors or as Peter Schickele facetiously called them under-the-counter tenors.