'Bel canto' is the Italian vocal technique and style of the 18th and early 19th centuries, with its emphasis on beauty of sound, thus the term which literally means 'beautiful singing'. More specifically, it is the method of singing a line of music with great 'legato' or smoothness. It is a highly artistic technique and the only proper one for Italian opera and Mozart.

There are many associations with the term 'bel canto' as with many terms having to do with singing. Legato phrasing, a rounded tone and immaculate articulation are just three to mention. What is important is the foundation that this method can provide for a strong vocal technique for ANY KIND of singing. As a singer of the 'bel canto' method for the first part of my career, I can personally attest to its benefits. I have a clear understanding of this technique having studied with some very gifted teachers of this method both in Canada, England, the United States and Italy itself. Italy is the home of 'bel canto' singing and I was blessed to have studied in Rome for two years (1979 - 1981) with Maestra Rebori and Tito Gobbi, the leading operatic baritone of his era and a contemporary of Maria Callas. The 'bel canto' technique is a gift from the Italians.

I would like to make one thing very clear. This does not mean that anyone exposed to 'bel canto' will sound like an opera singer. To sound like an opera singer takes many, many years of training and vocal development. To become an opera singer is to apply the 'bel canto' technique in its highest and purest form.

And so, it behooves the singer of the musical theatre, jazz and modern day sound and repertoire to take the principles, I repeat 'the principles' of 'bel canto' and benefit from them. You don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

For the musical theatre and popular singer of today, a technique incorporating the principles of 'bel canto' is excellent. It can be used with other techniques and affects that are appropriate and necessary for the style of music being sung and to build the voice accordingly. To use an analogy: lifting weights in the gym can only be of benefit to a marathon runner. Being fit is the absolute bottom line.

I have taken the best that the 'bel canto' technique has to offer and combined it with some more modern day approaches which I have found are beneficial for those singers who want to sing musical theatre, jazz or the popular music of our day. As the world changes so does singing with it. Some things are timeless and ageless. 'Bel canto' is one of those eternal treasures.