Instrumentation – guitar –


Score and parts on special sale from the Hire Library

Programme Notes

Bel Canto is above all a portrait of Maria Callas, based on her live recording of Puccini’s Vissi d’arte – with all the full generosity of her vibrato, swoops and portamenti. At the beginning, it’s as if we hear her young voice, and towards the end, the voice of her later years.

The path of the piece is not only about the ageing of an extraordinary woman, but also about the listener. Time slows down to allow for an engagement with detail, for a submersion in the sound, and for meditative stillness. Two simultaneous ensembles perform independently of each other. This makes for layers of melody, creating a sonic depth of field – echoing the depth of the Greek landscape in which I felt the warm revelation that originally inspired this piece. Separating the ensemble into two smaller groups, without conductor, enables an intense chamber-listening between the players. This intimacy allows them to carry out with great musicality the non-notatable qualities of the swoops and vibrato, and the unnamable subtleties of vocality.

Cassandra Miller

Bel Canto

Steam Whistle Brewery (Toronto, Canada)

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Bel Canto

Ulumbarra Theatre (Bendigo, VIC, Australia)

Jessica Aszodi, Argonaut Ensemble

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9-11 August. 5 perfs

Arcola Theatre (London, United Kingdom)

Ruthless Jabiru, Kelly Lovelady, Heather Fairbairn, Bushra El-Turk

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Constellation (Chicago, USA)

Fonema Consort

Bel Canto

Truman Brewery (London, United Kingdom)

Phaedra Ensemble, Héloïse Werner