Definition and background:
A soprano who sings elaborate ornamentation containing improvised or written out running passages and trills. This style was common in the 18th and 19th centuries in such arias as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's " The Magic Flute " Queen of the Night. These arias usually require a soprano with an extended high range. coloration; i.e., elaborate ornamentation of a vocal line, or (especially) a soprano voice that is well-suited to such elaboration. Originally signifying coloring, the word coloratura is generally used to describe vocal music that is extensively ornamented and calls for ability in a very high register. A typical part for a coloratura soprano is that of the queen of the night in Mozart's opera the magic flute (die Zauberflote)
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary