A History of Bel Canto

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Clarendon Press, 1996 - Music - 218 pages
Bel canto singing was a historical phenomenon which embraced Italian opera of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It required infinite variety of sound, in particular a lyrical ecstacy, a faultless technique to dispatch the vocal pyrotechnics demanded of it, and earned itself eloquent praise as `the singing which is heard within the soul'. Rodolfo Celletti, who has devoted his whole career to studying the voice from every historical, technical, and musical aspect, offers here a fascinating 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, andtraces the development of the style in different composers and their works. There is a chapetr 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.

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The Cult of Bel Canto Virtuosity and Hedonism
The Vocal Art in Baroque Opera
Particular Aspects of Baroque Opera

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About the author (1996)

Celletti devoted his whole career to studying the voice in every aspect, historical, technical and musical.

Frederick Fuller has served as a United Nations translator, Language Supervisor for the British Broadcasting Corporation during World War II, and a British Council lecturer in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Mr. Fuller studied Romance and Germanic philology at Liverpool, Munich, the Sorbonne, and Harvard.

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