The Particularities of the Performing Art of the Masters of the Bel Canto School

Georgy S. Zaitov


The article is devoted to study of the particularities of the performance style of the masters of the Italian bel canto
school of the late 19th and early 20th century with the aid of computer analysis of sound recordings of the outstanding
masters of singing, Fernando de Lucia, Alessandro Bonci and Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. Historical information is presented
on the vocal art of the era of bel canto and its evolution, and the process of the gradual displacement from the opera and
concert stage of castrato singers and the succession of their operating achievements by tenor singers. Characterization
is given to the essence of Duprè’s reforms, which formed a new school of singing, which at the same time absorbed
into itself the aesthetics of singing of the previous generation. Fernando de Lucia, Alessandro Bonci and Giacomo
Lauri-Volpi are regarded as the continuers of the traditions of Gilbert Duprè and Giovanni Batista Rubini. An analysis
is given of various singing techniques, the use of which was characteristic for masters of singing of the late 19th and
early 20th century. Questions of the boundaries of performance interpretation of the composer’s musical text by singers
are touched upon. Examples of musical compositions are cited the performance of which is authentic in relation to
the composer’s conception. Special attention is given to research of the singer’s vibrato as one of the particularities of
performance, presenting this direction in the art of vocalism. For the sake of more precise analysis computer programs
are applied which exceed considerably the objectivity of the studies.

Keywords: belcanto, style of performance, computer programs, vibrato, Fernando de Lucia, Alessandro Bonci,
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi.

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