Glossary: BELCANTO

This post  shows the technical term BELCANTO explained in a few sentences with links to practical examples.


Italian singing technique before 1900, singing art with such as purity and fineness of tone, flow (legato), dynamic flexibility (messa di voce) and furthermore agility in ornamentation. Famous Belcanto composers were Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini. Afterward Verdi also composed mainly in Belcanto style.

You can hear an exemplary recording by Fernando de Lucia, a then famous tenor (the Conte di Almaviva was one of his main roles). De Lucia is born in 1860 so still deeply rooted in the 19th century. The piece sounds like a journey through time into another world.

Ecco ridente in cielo   –  Fernando de Lucia


Next, with Pasquale Amato (1878-1942), one of the great singers of the golden age, who was a valued partner of Enrico Caruso at the Metropolitan Opera. His recording is not so much focused on the powerful tone, but rather captivates with the belcantistic nuances of the tone and a pronounced rubato (which Toscanini later exorcised from the singers). Listen to the aria of Figaro sung by Pasquale Amato with rushing swing.

Largo al factotum   –  Amato

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