|Bel Canto Australia 'Bel Canto’ simply means beautiful singing. This comprehensive term covers the vocal qualities of the great singers of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (baroque classical and Romantic) which gave much attention to vocal purity, (beauty of tone), control, and dexterity in ornamentation. The Italian singing-master was a very important person in the musical world from the days of Caccini onwards. A comprehensive study of exercises (solfeggi cantati) was demanded, with a complete study of ‘ornaments’, (embellishment of the melody) and coloratura (music with embellishments or the singer who specializes in it especially the trill.) Agility and control of the breath, interpretation of the words of the song, all these were the subject of the greatest attention. ‘Bel Canto Australia’, established in 2000, is a school of classical singing with an emphasis on vocal technique and the study of opera in all aspects and ages of development. From baroque to contemporary, original plays to librettos/librettists, composers, comparisons of style orchestration, stage direction etc. BCA’s pupils also study poetry, piano and theory of music because singers must become musicians, and by this means become acquainted with a musical literature other than that of song. Over the past years I have devoted myself to the study of vocal technique especially the technique used in past centuries. Whilst there are no recorded voices of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries I have researched methods used to develop the great singers of bygone eras. One of the most important facts I discovered very early in my study is that vocal development should be undertaken early in a child’s life when the act of speaking and singing is entirely natural. It is in this period that the singer learns the art of vocal technique and only after this has been mastered can interpretation be attempted. Nicola Vaccaj (1790-1848) wrote a complete practical method of singing which I use in my studio. The work was written in London, where the composer had become a highly sought-after singing teacher. The method is still used in conservatories all over the world. This is a complete method and can be undertaken by students of any age. Another important area of study is listening to the great singers of present and past times, by means of recordings, radio, the opera house and concert hall. This develops a concept of what is meant by ‘style’. Good singing is much more that being able to use the voice. It is a combination of the spirit, mind and soul which comes with many years of devotion and understanding of the various elements which together create the whole artist. Suzanne OrtusoArtistic Director|
Days On The Island
Port Arthur production 2003
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