Belcanto ( from Italian: bel canto " beautiful singing " ) or referred to in the bel canto music vocal technique at the beginning of the 17th century originated in Italy in connection with the monody and opera. Until about 1840, the Bel Canto was the preferred technique for singing in the European opera.

Elements of bel canto are the legato, the Messa di voce, the appoggiaturas and portamenti and the virtuosic coloratura and ornamentation by fioriture. With the operas of Giuseppe Verdi and verismo bel canto was ousted because the singers had to compete against a larger orchestral forces.

The term is also used as a collective term for the opera composition from about 1810 to 1845 in Italy. The main representatives of this school were Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti.

Jürgen Kesting Belcanto defined as " [ ...] ( singing ) style in need of any technique or specific technology as a style ". The term is often incorrectly applied to the bel canto singers who only have a beautiful voice and classical vocal technique without singing works of the bel canto era, or the bel canto style.


As golden age of ornate singing ( Canto fiorito ) is the time between the end of the 17th century and the early 19th century. The ideal type of bel canto singer were at this time the castrato (Italian: Evirati ) whose technical and vocal capabilities that have remained legendary to this day. With the disappearance of the castrati of the opera stages was accompanied by a development of opera in which the improvisational possibilities of the singers were increasingly limited and the rather mannered artificial Canto fiorito a more "natural " style of singing had to give way, without the requirements of bel canto abandoned were. The last and largest peak celebrated bel canto in the years between about 1810 to 1850.

Important composers

Great singer of bel canto style