Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tips on Bel Canto

By: Alicia Waller
Gioacchino Rossini
I’ve always thought the operatic voice was the pinnacle of singing.  Of course, I’m prone to think that as a young student of voice and opera studies.  Nevertheless, the voice’s capacity for endless expression is undeniable.  It is like a fingerprint.  Though two voices may be similar, they will never be exactly the same.  We singers are products of nature and nurture.  We are products of our generation, where we’ve grown up, how we’ve grown up, our early musical influences and of course the natural instrument.  There are countless other factors that inspire our individual sounds as well; one of the most important being the years of carefully cultivated learning that this style of singing requires.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Gioacchino Rossini stands amongst an elite few operas as a definitive representation of the Bel Canto art form and period.  As such, rehearsals for this opera under the baton of Maestro Willie Anthony Waters have been incredibly informative, and have reminded me of some of the things that make Bel Canto singing “beautiful.”  I’d like to share some of the tips I’ve learned with you!  Keep in mind, they are also entirely relevant for our other opera this season, Guiseppe Verdi's La Traviata.

(1)  When looking for meaning in your text favor the verb.  Meaning, go towards it in your phrasing.
(2)  Most musical phrases should have some element of crescendo and diminuendo.  
(3)  Always sing through your vowels.  This tip never gets old, and I can never be reminded enough!
(4)  The accompaniment in Bel Canto is often the same no matter the sentiment.  As such, the singer should show intention both musically and visually as an actor.

Thanks again for reading! 

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