Opera: Back to Bel Canto

Who do they think they are, these people who want to teach us our trade?

We know it ever so much better than they do. Let composers stick to their méetier and let us do ours! Composers who write out ornaments are just imi tating a dangerous foreign fashion, one which is unworthy of good Italians!

So wrote the famed castrato soprano Pier Francesco Tosi in his book Observations on the Florid Song, which was the basic handbook for opera singers during the 18th century. In those days singers freely ornamented composers' scores...

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