March 15, 2011

The heart of bel canto

Bel canto means 'beautiful singing' in Italian. It also refers to a certain tonal quality, one that is ringing, rich, full, and chiaroscuro in timbre. Of course, theatre or cabaret singers don't make this kind of sound, but they often have a quality that classical singers lack, one that is not simply the product of singing quietly into a microphone, and is as ineffable as it is necessary for real artistry. Nancy LaMott is one such singer. She, more than anyone I can think of, sang with this quality. And what would that be exactly? Heart. Listen to her here. She makes you believe in beauty, life and love.

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