The Art of Bel Canto

Ref: C3741193

This course explores the style of opera known as 'bel canto', which produced some very tuneful and memorable music. We will explore mainly the works of the three leading exponents of this style - Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti but the historic development of the bel canto singing tradition and the associated operas from the 18th century will be explored. Also highlighted will be the singers from the 18th and 19th centuries who had mastered the art of bel canto singing and singers from the modern era, e.g. Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, who stimulated a revival of interest in these operas in the second half of the 20th century.

Course aim

The main aim of this course is to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of the operatic style known as ‘bel canto’.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • identify operas that belong to the bel canto style;
  • identify what characterises bel canto;
  • identify the various composers of bel canto and place them in their historical context;
  • identify the singers throughout history who have been associated with bel canto;
  • watch or listen to these operas with greater enjoyment.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No prior knowledge is assumed, but watching or listening to any opera by Rossini, Bellini or Donizetti would help to get you in the right frame of mind.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Information on relevant books, CD recordings and videos will be given out during the course, as well as information about forthcoming opera performances.

Download full course outline

The Art of Bel Canto Course Outline

Enrolment Conditions

You can enrol online if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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