View Poll Results: What is "belcanto" opera

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  • It is like Clayton singing in a silk chiffon dress

    2 22.22%
  • It is opera from the Italian romantic period of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi etcetera

    7 77.78%
  • Italianate opera of the middle eighteenth century

    0 0%
  • other

    1 11.11%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: What is "belcanto" opera?

          
   
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    What is "belcanto" opera?

    What is the meaning of belcanto opera? I understand belcanto is simply the Italian for beautiful singing but surely that would apply to all opera.

    I first understood the term to refer to the Italian romantic period (Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti etcetera) but then came to understand that this term also implied that this period only remembered traditions of the earlier eighteenth century Italianate operas when arias were sung in the da capo structure with the singer adding their expression or flourishes.

    So what do you understand of this term?

  2. #2
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    Bel canto has at least three meanings:

    1. A form of singing that emphasizes Vocal purity of vowel pronunciation, the legato line and vocal agility;

    2. The period from about 1810 to 1850, when the major bel canto composers (Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti [in actuality, many more]) composed, and

    3. Operas of the aforementioned composers, as well as Verdi up to Luisa Miller.

    Bel canto has nothing to do with Clayton in a tutu (blech!!) or chiffon anything (double blech!!!)

    It also excludes most German operas where massive sound eclipses vocal delicacy and agility,

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  4. #3
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    Bel canto has nothing to do with Clayton in a tutu or chiffon anything


    Whaaaat? Every time I listen to Donizetti I have this vision of Clayton in a tutu.

    I feel cheated now.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Interesting

    I have learned so far that there are different explanations

    Though the general consensus (as shown in poll results so far) of the collection of opera fans on this forum is that the most popular understanding of the term belcanto IS the first two options...

  7. #5
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    If you say belcanto *opera* then option number 2 is the closest. If you say belcanto as a singing technique, the concept is older than that.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  9. #6
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as 'belcanto' opera unless it is like Clayton singing in a silk chiffron dress.



    'Bel canto' opera is the second option.

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post


    Whaaaat? Every time I listen to Donizetti I have this vision of Clayton in a tutu.

    I feel cheated now.
    Underneath his tight cricket clothes?

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    Bel canto has at least three meanings:

    1. A form of singing that emphasizes Vocal purity of vowel pronunciation, the legato line and vocal agility;

    2. The period from about 1810 to 1850, when the major bel canto composers (Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti [in actuality, many more]) composed, and

    3. Operas of the aforementioned composers, as well as Verdi up to Luisa Miller.

    Bel canto has nothing to do with Clayton in a tutu (blech!!) or chiffon anything (double blech!!!)

    It also excludes most German operas where massive sound eclipses vocal delicacy and agility,

    I agree with John except on the tutu thing.

    As Pince Orlofsky says on the ball he organises during The Fledermaus ,
    " everybody has the right to dress or undress as he / she likes".

  12. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro), Clayton, MAuer liked this post
  13. #9
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    We have had another vote on the poll that says there is an "other" explanation for bel canto (note space between bel and canto; I am learning). Can that person please explain? I want to know all the different meanings/understandings

  14. #10
    Junior Member Recent member Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    We have had another vote on the poll that says there is an "other" explanation for bel canto (note space between bel and canto; I am learning). Can that person please explain? I want to know all the different meanings/understandings
    I think you can spell bel canto with or without the space, if I remember correctly.

    I voted "other" just now because I believe bel canto is much older than the romantic era, and goes back even to the 17th Century. I'm not sure what constitutes a "bel canto" opera specifically though... apart from its typical Italian style (Verdi, Rossini, Bellini etc...) and way of singing as mentioned by JohnGerald.
    So I guess I agree with Almaviva and JohnGerald.

    Can you consider Puccini a bel canto composer (generally speaking)?

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  16. #11
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    I don't think Puccini can be considered as having written 'bel canto' operas, 'verismo' operas yes but any other definition of 'bel canto' I wouldn't know what to apply to.
    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

  17. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nekrotzar View Post
    I don't think Puccini can be considered as having written 'bel canto' operas, 'verismo' operas yes but any other definition of 'bel canto' I wouldn't know what to apply to.
    A well sung Boheme requires more of the bel canto technique, particularly the use of the "legato line', than do the rest of his compositions. To attempt the tenor aria, "Che gelida manina" or Mimi's Mi chiamono Mimi" without it would be a bit unpleasant to the ears, as well as hard on the vocal apparatus.

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