Murray State University

Poster Title

An Investigation Into the Bel Canto Style and How Rossini Used Bel Canto Techniques While Having a Major Impact on Mezzo-soprano Roles

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

The term bel canto refers to a style of singing made popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Italian opera. Composers and performers utilized the bel canto technique to demonstrate vocal agility and technical ability. Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) is thought to be one of the masters of this style. Rossini employed the use of such bel canto techniques as sostenuti, portamenti, messa di voci and melismatic passages in his operas. Rossini was an influential and crucial composer for the mezzo-soprano voice type. Rossini wrote characters for the mezzo-soprano which were the object of the leading man's affection and light-hearted. This was considered a change from preceding ideas. This paper reviews some of the techniques of bel canto singing as used by Rossini. It also discusses the vocal difficulty of performing such skills effectively. The paper also examines the shift of available roles for mezzosopranos in Rossini operas compared to previous opportunities. Rossini often used the voice as a technically skilled instrument rather than exploiting its dramatic ability.

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An Investigation Into the Bel Canto Style and How Rossini Used Bel Canto Techniques While Having a Major Impact on Mezzo-soprano Roles

The term bel canto refers to a style of singing made popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Italian opera. Composers and performers utilized the bel canto technique to demonstrate vocal agility and technical ability. Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) is thought to be one of the masters of this style. Rossini employed the use of such bel canto techniques as sostenuti, portamenti, messa di voci and melismatic passages in his operas. Rossini was an influential and crucial composer for the mezzo-soprano voice type. Rossini wrote characters for the mezzo-soprano which were the object of the leading man's affection and light-hearted. This was considered a change from preceding ideas. This paper reviews some of the techniques of bel canto singing as used by Rossini. It also discusses the vocal difficulty of performing such skills effectively. The paper also examines the shift of available roles for mezzosopranos in Rossini operas compared to previous opportunities. Rossini often used the voice as a technically skilled instrument rather than exploiting its dramatic ability.