bel canto


: operatic singing originating in 17th century and 18th century Italy and stressing ease, purity, and evenness of tone production and an agile and precise vocal technique

Examples of bel canto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Blackburn delivered a frothy Valse by the French composer Benjamin Godard, its waltz gussied up in runs and curlicues worthy of a bel canto opera. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 17 July 2023 The buoyant conducting of Enrique Mazzola, the company’s music director, demonstrated his profound understanding of the opera’s bel canto roots, and Louisa Muller, the director, embraced the absurdities of the plot and managed to make its conflicting debts of honor plausible. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 20 Sep. 2022 Abigail Rethwisch is alternately authoritative and ethereal as the Controller, her gorgeous soprano dispatching bel canto flourishes and soaring into vocal stratospheres. Dallas News, 5 Mar. 2022 Galás’ meticulously disciplined singing draws from jazz, blues, country, gospel hymns, German cabaret, traditional Greek music, operatic bel canto singing and more. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 For years, a core of bel canto performers has won a small, loyal following but not widespread support. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 As a performer, Brownlee visibly delights in the bel canto repertoire (check out his Donizetti, in that recital), as well as in Sorey’s contemporary language. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, 22 Jan. 2021 Callas, whose passionate artistry helped resuscitate the early-19th-century bel canto repertoire that had largely vanished by the mid-20th century, had no shortage of drama in her own life. Matthew Anderson, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2020 The work embraces bel canto singing, a technically challenging idiom that emphasizes florid vocal lines and ornate melodic embellishment, a Mazzola specialty. Howard Reich,, 13 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bel canto.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian, literally, beautiful singing

First Known Use

1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bel canto was in 1838

Dictionary Entries Near bel canto

Cite this Entry

“Bel canto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

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