What is bel canto vocal technique? Simply put, it is the Italian school of singing that facilitates the vocal requirements of the bel canto operas written from about 1810 to 1855. Combined with the information available today about anatomy, this technique is the healthiest for your voice regardless of the repertoire you sing. It is up to the individual artist to apply this technique to the various styles that he/she may be required to sing. A beautiful legato line and vocal flexibility are the signatures of true bel canto technique and should be the foundation of all opera, classical, and legit singing. In order to achieve this beautiful bel canto legato line, there must be vowel and register alignment with an even vibrato. The throat must be released with the focus forward. The Italians have an accurate word for this combination called chiaroscuro. It is a word usually used in the art world to explain the contrast of light and dark. In vocal terms, we use it to describe the balance of forwardness (brightness) of sound with the release of throat space for color (darkness.) As mentioned above, this balance must be aligned through the vowels and through the registers. That's the first step. The student of bel canto must also be able to master all manner of embellishments - even scales, trills, staccato, sustained high notes, mixed low notes and chest voice. This is a discipline that requires a lot of practice. Even big voices should be able to move freely and have a dynamic range.
Click to hear Virginia sing "Bel Raggio" from "Semiramide"
The foundation of this vocal technique is dependent upon proper breath support. The breathing that I encourage my students to use is natural. The only difference is that we need more air pressure to sing than to speak and of course, the exhalation is focused. The inhalation expands the abdomen and allows the upper chest to be reactive rather than proactive. The exhalation starts with a natural contraction of the abdominal muscles with the air flow focused or concentrated for a steady sound. The feeling should be one of energy rather than tension. The high or shallow chest breath only fills up the top portion of the lungs, which can possibly strain them while tensing the rib cage and taxing the heart. The rib cage needs to expand with flexibility not tension. Concentrating on this method of breathing will also support your speaking voice, which is vital in avoiding vocal fatigue. (More details discussed during lessons/classes ) I also recommend Yoga, Alexander, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong for mind - body connection and focus.
There are many facets to singing well and a good teacher is patient and flexible. Every voice is different and responds differently. I create individual vocal exercises to help with the various vocal challenges that you may have. I also rely on some standard vocal exercises as well.
I work with every voice type, male and female. Whether you sing Opera, Classical or Musical Theater you will need a dependable technique for a successful career. I offer the diversity of these three genres in my studio.
" The object of art is expression.
The essence of expression is imagination.
The control of imagination is form.
The "medium" for all three is technique.”