Bel Canto

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bel Canto


a style of singing that arose in Italy by the middle of the 17th century and is the basis of the Italian school of singing.

Bel canto is characterized by beauty and plasticity of tone; maximum lightness, flexibility, and facility of singing; smoothness of transition from one note to another; and elegance and virtuosity of performance. These specific characteristics of bel canto, which were inherent in the Italian school of singing at all stages of its development, are related to the tonal color and structural peculiarities of the Italian language as well as to folk song traditions.

While preserving its artistic and aesthetic basis, bel canto was enriched by new techniques of performance. The basic stages in the development of bel canto are the birth of Italian opera, the work of C. Monteverdi, the flowering of the Neapolitan school (A. Scarlatti), the creative period of V. Bellini and G. Donizetti (so-called classical bel canto), the work of G. Verdi, and the verismo school.

Bel canto influenced other national schools of singing. Sometimes the term bel canto means the whole Italian vocal culture or the melodiousness of any vocal performance.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Sinfonietta Bel Canto is based in Downers Grove.
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Spanish opera diva Montserrat Caballe, renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, has died.
Thomson fulfills a long-held wish and takes voices lessons with a maestro di canto who introduces him to the bel canto technique that has produced generations of outstanding singers.
She has dramatically changed my instrument in the four years I've been with her." Under the tutelage of Miricioiu, Strong has developed the flexibility and colours essential in bel canto and early Verdi, earning her high praise as Lina in Stiffelio.
This guide would be an excellent companion book to Martha Elliott's Singing in Style ..., which encompasses vocal performance practices other than bel canto, but Toft's work provides greater source material and more musical examples specifically in that style.
Ann Patchett, the best-selling author of six novels and two works of nonfiction, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2002 for Bel Canto (2001).
Along with her near contemporaries Jenny Lind and Thrse Tietjens, Patti remains one of the most famous sopranos in history due to the purity and beauty of her lyrical voice and the unmatched quality of her bel canto technique.
Lucia was written in the bel canto style, which means "beautiful voice" or "beautiful song." This form was eventually pushed out by the broad drama of Wagner and Strauss in the mid-1800's.
Joan Sutherland led the renaissance of Italian bel canto and French romantic operas, reviving roles of extraordinary difficulty.
Still in the land of the Inca, we discover Juan Diego Florez, who top critics consider the greatest bel canto tenor of all times.