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Bel canto

From Academic Kids

Bel canto (Italian, beautiful singing) is an Italian musical term. It refers to the art and science of vocal technique which originated in Italy during the late sixteenth century and reached its pinnacle in the early part of the nineteenth century during the Bel Canto opera era. Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti are the best-known exponents of this style, which flourished from approximately 1810 to 1830.

Bel canto singing is characterized by a focus on perfect evenness throughout the voice, skillful legato, a light upper register, tremendous agility and flexibility, and a certain lyric, "sweet" timbre. Operas of the style featured extensive and florid ornamentation, requiring much in the way of fast scales and cadenzas.

While the bel canto period is typically dated to the early 19th century, the term itself did not come to be commonly used in its current sense until the middle of the 19th century. It was at this time that composers such as Wagner began to call for larger, more dramatic voices; opponents of this trend complained, with Rossini, "Alas for us, we have lost our bel canto."

Several contemporary singers who are well-known for their bel canto technique are sopranos Edita Gruberova and Renée Fleming, the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, and the countertenor David Daniels. The soprano Maria Callas was probably the best-known bel canto singer of the postwar period.

See also

es:Bel canto pl:Bel canto

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