Appoggio - is the support for the power tone, given by the muscles of the diaphragm, the pelvis and the muscles between the ribs.
Alto in Palato - means to stretch one's tent around the high palate to create a place for the resonance of silvery overtones
Avanti - is the balcony of the Diva, the socalled front position for the tones which projects the sound far into the space like a laser beam without any microphone.
Lingua - means tongue and speech at the same time- a flat relaxed tongue like a couch potatoe is the best help to pronounce vowels and consonants very clearly
Legato - means an articulation of phrases without any interruption of sound on a neverending exhalation
Cantare sul fiato - means to sing with the least use of air. Inhale the tone and exhale sound by using the best resonance places
Belcanto is a natural singing technique where the vocal sounds are produced on stage without microphone. This singing art came up around 1600 in Italy and was cultivated especially by the castrato singers of the Papal Chapel, because women were either allowed on opera stages or in church choirs. Basically women sang only at home or in noble cameratas not publicly. Even if the Pope since 1587 forbid the custom of some families to send their boys to a surgery for castration to keep the high soprano voice, this habit still was in use until shortly after 1900. Famous castratos like Farinelli, Senesino, Caffarelli, Bernacchi and more, the so called singing angels without gender created a trumpetlike strong sound and the coloratura style in which they competed against real trumpets. Once Farinelli won this competition with his voice and endless breath against the best trumpet player of the orchestra. From this moment on, his world career was started. Divine voices went round the world on opera stages and won the hearts of the public and later of the Spanish King whose wife hired Farinelli to sing every evening the same arias for the king who suffered from depression and sleeplessness. During the 17th century women came more and more on stage and developped the traditional coloratura style because of their flexibility of voices. This is the tradition in which later charismatic artists like Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas grew up.
Elements of Belcanto are Legato, the style to connect the words from note to note without interruption, Messa di voce - a constant swelling of tone from ppp to fff and back again; the "canto fiorito or figurato" by ornementation and decoration of notes through the Appoggiatura, the Portamento, the Trill and the Cadenza of the soloist. The so called Coloured and flourishing style came up in the great solo arias of typical Belcanto-Composers of the 17. and 18th centuries like Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and later Verdi who still bring the public of today to passionate applause. With the verismo operas of Verdi and Wagner where social and historical subjects prevail produced the romantic - dramatic opera style. As the orchestras became huge with over 150 persons, singers needed a very strong vocal support to sing over such an orchestra without microphone. Belcanto Vocal Technique came to its peak by being taught in conservatories by special teachers who were mostly singers themselves or had a father who had already an Opera career. From this tradition in Italy the Italian method is still favoured allover the world of singing today.
The Oracle of Delphi & Ventriloquism Nowadays
Magically spoken words with emotion always fascinated people since the Oracle of Delphi and the antique Amphitheatre. Italian Belcanto, the classical singing method of the 19th century goes back to similar voice production like the ventriloquist who is able to present his magic doll speaking for herself. The ventriloquist, Sascha Grammel, keeps his mouth nearly closed and his voice box in the lowest position while he speaks for his dolls. The voice sound is directed behind the upper front teeth like in Opera singing. The lips stay closed, only the background of the throat and the jaws are wide open towards the neck. That way the audition doesn't notice how he produces the words the doll in his hand speaks.
How the Belcanto Tone is produced - some Insider Tricks
The famous Opera Tenor Enrico Caruso uses exactly this secret of ventriloquism by bringing his voice box backwards near to his
pharynx near the vertebrae of the neck. This connection backwards gives the tone a whole mouth of resonance and connects it to the lower body. From there the tone is directed intentionally towards the forehead over the nose balcony. The tongue stays flat behind the lower teeth and moves only minimally for the vowels. The vocal chords are welltrained in the natural glottis closure so that with a minimum of air a spacefilling sound is produced like a laserbeam. This tone jumps off the diaphragm of the singer like an acrobat and flies far into the hall where the audition is sitting
Stage Power instead of Voice weakness & Charisma instead of Stage Fever!
With the traditional Belcanto singing Technique vocal weaknesses and faults can be healed like a tremolo, wobbling and the famous "tenor dumpling" from a tense tongue. By healthy breathing like the yogis stage fever and a lack of legato are cured quickly
In my books - Singing like Callas and Caruso - and - Sanger ABC - Belcanto, singen kann doch jeder! - all this is explained in detail. Practical exercises are described and documented with photos for the daily training.
For more Information pls phone to + 49 160 918.33.404 or write Email to
When women appeared on Opera stages rather late since the beginning of Opera around 1600, the female Belcanto Artist was born because women have a natural tendency to sing coloratura arias. Famous coloratura voice like Maria Malibran and Louise Viardot, the daughters of the famous Tenor and Vocal Coach for Belcanto from Southern Spain, Manuel García, prove how much artistry these divas had whereas the father Manuel García was passionate to find out scientific details about the function of the throat in opera singing and used as the first person in music a laryngoscope to see what happens in the larynx.
Conservatories in Paris, Milano and Rome spread Italian Belcanto Technique allover Europe while García himself did a tour through the New World and stunned Americas public with the vocal artistry of his daughters.His follower in Italy, Giovanni Battista Lamperti and his famous pupil from Germany, Mathilde Graumann Marchesi, wrote guides with exercises for their pupils. The newly founded academy of sciences at Paris became interested in acoustic phenomena of Opera singing. World class voices like Adelina Patti, Enrico Caruso, Luisa Tetrazzini came out of this tradition. The Charisma of the famous Greek Soprano Maria Callas eclipsed all former singers, because she came from the traditional way of theatre declamation of the Antique Amphitheatres and brought the great tradition of great voices nearly to an end when the first microphones came into use on stages.
After Manuel García, the Father of the Belcantoscience using the laryngoscope, theory and practice of Opera singing were researched during the 20th century by Professor Frederick Husler, Cornelius Reid, Lilli Lehmann, Louis Jacques Rondeleux, James Stark & many others. Only Husler researched the functions of true opera singers, whereas medical investigations only used normal voices. The charismatic sound of opera voices is produced by a completely relaxed laryngal function where the sound producing organs work together in a balanced team. When the Larynx is hanging and swinging like a swing, the vocal chords are able to function in three dimensional movements activated only by a tiny current of air. Then the most thrilling voice power will appear when the resonance places in head, breast and bones are activated by upright posture, an extende diaphragm, strong belly and pelvis muscles for a support. Powerful voice production is basically a balanced use of body without tension around lips, tongue, jaws and larynx, a healthy teamwork. As most persons develop personal voice production patterns from their parents or stress related malfunctions, there is a way to go for a beginner of opera singing to relax the tongue, release disturbing vocal patterns and learn how to speak and sing in the best position without moving the larynx up and down. The training takes several years for a solo singer like for a prima ballerina.