What is bel canto?

With Lyric Opera of Chicago’s opening of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, a prime example of the Italian style known as bel canto, this weekend, I thought now would be a good time for a little refresher. So, what exactly is bel canto? “Opera buffs today use the term bel canto all the time. Yet we each seem to bring a different set of assumptions to the concept.” -Anthony Tommasini, New York Times Bel canto literally translates to “beautiful singing,” and it was a popular singing style in Italian opera from…

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