THE BEL CANTO REVIVAL IN PEDAGOGY AND PERFORMANCE: PRESENTING MADNESS AND THE GREAT LUCIAS
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In this thesis, I examine the Mad Scene from Donizetti’s bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor by utilising perspectives from opera studies, pedagogy, and performance studies. Bel canto means “beautiful singing,” but there is much more to this term than meets the eye. Beginning with the character of Lucia, I offer insights into how she is viewed in the original source material in contrast to both composer and librettist’s intentions when adapting this story. Next, nineteenth-century bel canto pedagogy is summarised and contrasted with revival-era pedagogy, while implementing elements from the teaching of Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland. Lastly, Callas and Sutherland’s performances of the Mad Scene by are analysed using auditory, timbral, and visual elements to show their impact on perceived madness.