Cher Public

You can ring my bel canto

malibranSince last night marked the debut of history’s newest and perkiest interpreter of the role of Norma, and (more to the point) since Bellini’s druid priestess will grace the woods of Katonah, NY during the month of July, La Cieca thought it would be exciting to organize a YouTube competition on the theme of bel canto. The very special prize to the winner of this week’s competition: a pair of tickets (complete with transportation) to the Bel Canto at Caramoor presentation of Norma on July 16.  

Your task, cher public, is to find and to embed a YouTube clip that illustrates or embodies the meaning of “bel canto.” Entries will be judged both on the musical quality of the clip and on your introductory paragraph explaining to us why and how this clip is a sterling example of the art of bel canto.

The contest will close on Monday, July 5 at midnight. The commenter who posts the clip and comment La Cieca judges the best (and her whim is final!) will receive a pair of tickets of the July 16 performance of Norma at Caramoor plus a pair of passes on the Caramoor Caravan departing from the Grand Central Station area at 4:00 pm and returning after the opera.

And now, a singer who has been ringing La Cieca’s bel canto for several seasons now, joyous Joyce DiDonato. In this selection, she perfectly balances the technical control necessary to bel canto (long breath, smooth legato, seamlessly blended registers) with the musicianship and emotion required to bring the piece to vivid life. In particular, note the aggressive vocal attacks on the strong rhythms of the main theme of the cabaletta, bordering on the declamatory but always within the context of a breath-supported legato.

So, cher public, let’s hear it from you: what is bel canto and who can show us how to do it?