The so-called lowest female voice deep chest, velvety timbre. Previously, he was called the Alto, by analogy with the stringed instrument.
This voice is rare, and composers use it too often is not. Often it turned Tchaikovsky. So, he has written for contralto party Olga in "Eugene Onegin" and Polina in "Queen of spades".
Scene and Aria Olga from the Opera of P. I. Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin"
Sings Glafira Queen
In some operas contralto takes the party boys. So, especially for the great singer-contralto Vorobyova-Petrova Glinka created a party Vani adopted son Susanin - in the Opera "Ivan Susanin", as well as young Hazar Khan Ratmir in "Ruslan and Lyudmila". Rimsky-Korsakov instructed contralto party of guslar Negati in "Sadko" and the shepherd-singer Lola in "the snow maiden".
Song Lola, perhaps the most popular contralto repertoire, especially the third: "a Cloud with thunder were conspiring...".
Third LEL's song from the Opera N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov's "Snow Maiden"
Sings Irina Arkhipova
Sometimes, if the theatre has no singer-contralto, these parties instruct the voice of the closest - mezzo-soprano.
The contralto range from f up to small octave f of the second octave.
The contralto range