Definition of bel canto in English:

bel canto


  • [mass noun] A lyrical style of operatic singing using a full, rich, broad tone and smooth phrasing.

    ‘a superb piece of bel canto’
    [as modifier] ‘the bel canto arias of Bellini’
    • ‘Instrumental music is a human being teaching a musical instrument to sing, to sing bel canto.’
    • ‘Fans of this opera and of bel canto opera in general, should find this a rewarding addition to their collection.’
    • ‘Her contributions to the bel canto repertoire sometimes are forgotten, and this recording is good example of why they shouldn't be.’
    • ‘But this opera requires each singer to have two critical talents: the acting skills to pull off comedy and the voice to sing bel canto.’
    • ‘Nor had the piano music devotees ever been exposed to bel canto phrasing so exceptionally deft and liquid that it that seemed to transform eighty eight keys into a chorus of voices and other instruments.’
    • ‘I don't have enough Bellini in my life. I think my problem with bel canto is that the beautiful bits are very beautiful.’
    • ‘This is demonstrated by good choral training, and bel canto voice training, and so forth.’
    • ‘With our later discovery of bel canto opera we suddenly woke up to what we had missed.’
    • ‘Roberto Alagna's solo discs have been intelligent and instructive, and the present one - a little history of bel canto singing - is no exception.’
    • ‘Before the vocal glory of Callas and Sutherland, sopranos with lighter timbres often sang bel canto roles.’
    • ‘The best training in music, comes from the bel canto singing programs in Italian and German - the models for singing.’
    • ‘At that audition I did not have any Baroque arias prepared so I sang my usual bel canto coloratura and he hired me on the spot.’
    • ‘Beneath the delicacy of his melodic writing - pianistic bel canto - Chopin was a bold innovator.’
    • ‘There has been no shortage of agile tenors recently to handle the florid bel canto repertory, but none I've encountered offers this kind of total package.’
    • ‘The Andante sang like an instrumental bel canto aria.’
    • ‘He is one of the few conductors who feel bel canto in their blood and can pass that on to you.’
    • ‘This year they turned to Bellini, staging Norma, generally regarded as one of the composer's finest bel canto masterpieces, and not so long ago a showpiece for Maria Callas.’
    • ‘His singing tone adorned every bar with ardor - pianistic bel canto.’
    • ‘The bel canto operas of Vicenzo Bellini are endowed with an endless font of inspired melodies.’
    • ‘He invests virtually every phrase with incomparable authority and elegance, paying tribute to a pianistic bel canto while rendering its texture completely transparent.’


Late 19th century: Italian, literally fine song.


bel canto

/bɛl ˈkantəʊ/