A History of Bel Canto

A History of Bel Canto

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Bel canto singing was a historical phenomenon which embraced Italian opera of the 18th and early 19th centuries. It required variety of sound, in particular a lyrical ecstasy, a large amount of technique to dispatch the vocal pyrotechnics demanded of it, and earned itself praise as the "singing which is heard within the soul". In this book the author, a scholar of historical, technical and musical aspects of the voice, aims to offer a history of bel canto singing and the voice in operatic literature. He begins by discussing the links of bel canto with the operatic ideals of the baroque, and points out that the style was created as much by operatic composers and their librettists as by their executants, the singers. To this end he undertakes a review of Italian opera of the period, and traces the development of the style in different composers and their works. There is a chapter on castrati - the voice par excellence of bel canto - and the art of singing in their day. The final chapter looks at the history of bel canto since Rossini, charting its death and resurrection.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 223 pages
  • 143 x 223.77 x 18.54mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • music examples
  • 0193132095
  • 9780193132092

Table of contents

Part 1 The cult of bel canto, virtuosity and hedonism. Part 2 The vocal art in baroque opera: from reciting in song to Roman opera; Monteverdi; Cavalli and Cesti; Legrenzi, Sartorio, P.A.Ziani and Pollarolo; Carlo Pallavicino and Staffani; Scarlatti; the golden age - from Lotti to Handel. Part 3 Particular aspects of baroque opera: the castrato and the art of singing in his day; "tempest" arias; buffo roles. Part 4 Rossini: Rossini's views on melody and on singing; characteristics of Rossini's writing for the voice; types of voice in Rossini's operas; vocalism in the Rossini periods - performance practices, Stendhal's views on singing. Part 5 Death and resurrection of bel canto.show more

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