This week is all about bel canto. While you will hear many interpretations of what bel canto is, there is no such thing as a bel canto opera. Bel canto is a style or way of singing in opera from the mid-18th to early 19th centuries, although it can be traced back to operas birth in the 15th century. During this period, composers made it clear that the singer was to take over in any way they pleased. It has been said that once a composer had written a score it was considered a skeleton and they expected the singer to fill it out. The composer would often make note of this preference in the score by using the phrase “col canto” which was instruction to the accompanist to follow the soloist’s tempo (time). The literal translation is “with the melody”.
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