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Bel Canto: A Performer's Guide


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Table of Contents

Contents Abbreviations Part 1 The Principles of Bel canto 1. Introduction 2. Phrasing 3. Altering Rhythm and Tempo 4. Tonal Contrast, Register, Vibrato 5. Ornamentation 6. Dramatic Action Part 2 Bel canto in Practice Handel, "Armida dispietata/Lascia ch'io pianga" (Rinaldo, 1711/1731) Handel, "O worse than death indeed/Angels ever bright and fair" (Theodora, 1750) Gluck, "Sposa Euridice/Che faro senza Euridice" (Orfeo ed Euridice, 1762) Sarti, "Lungi dal caro bene" (Giulio Sabino, 1781) Mozart, "Voi che sapete" (Le nozze di Figaro, 1786) Mozart (arr. Bishop), "Love! ever leave me" Bibliography

About the Author

Robert Toft has pursued a career as a vocal coach, performer, and researcher. He has published four books on the performance practices of singing between the 16th and 19th centuries and has given master classes, workshops, and lectures on historically-informed performance in Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, and USA. He is Professor of Music at Western University in London, Canada.


"This is a treasure of a book: Robert Toft, drawing on sixty years of sources, has captured vital elements of a Golden Age of song, between Handel and Rossini: the passionate declamation of texts, a wealth of ornamentation, four types of vibrato. Singers, it could change your life!" --Emma Kirkby, Soprano "Robert Toft reveals early music's best kept secret: actual history is more about dynamic performance than dusty manuscripts. This is the book on bel canto for 21st century performers." --John Potter, Reader Emeritus, York University "Recommended." --Choice

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