Key Elements of the Old Italian School

Henry Wood, the eminent English conductor, most known as the creator of the “Proms”, counted among his mentors Manuel Garcia, Jr..

In the 1920s, Wood remarked:

Teachers of singing generally deem it wise to say they teach the “Italian method” – whatever that may mean…

Who better to make determination on what constitutes the requirements of the Old Italian School than Gioachino Rossini?

Two of the five remarks are particularly general:

  • A naturally beautiful voice
  • and a command of style not taught but rather learned from listening to the best Italian singers

The last three are very specific, and form the backbone of any technique worthy of the name “Old Italian”:

  • blended registers
  • an even tone from the low to the high range
  • and diligent training resulting in an effortless delivery of highly florid music

The description of tone and quality of singing doesn’t say anything about breath capacity, breath control, or resonance.

Could it be that perhaps through unification of the registers of the voice, that all these other qualities fell into place as a RESULT of a cause?

Worth considering…

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