Monday, June 22, 2015

“What Bel Canto Means To Me...” (By John McCormack’s heir)

In an e-mail letter to me dated October 15, 2003, Count John McCormack, heir and grandson of Irish Tenor John McCormack writes:

Bel Canto speaks for itself – beautiful singing – and one of its greatest exponents was my grandfather, Count John McCormack.... The secret to Bel Canto, some say, lies in the continuity of tone and the art of sustaining passages to create a beautiful line. John was an expert at delivery, phrasing and had uncanny breathing ability, quite often leaving his audience gasping while he sailed effortlessly on.

The sheer simplicity behind the theory of allowing a voice to develop in its own individual and distinctive way could well be learned and understood by many modern singers who force their way through songs while desperately attempting to sound like their favourite singer. Why do we spend so much of our lives trying to be someone else when what we have is so divinely unique?

It gives me great pleasure to know that the tradition of Bel Canto is continued with success through the Bel Canto House in Dublin. My grandfather’s legacy will remain and the lessons that can still be learned from listening to his mastery will, hopefully, continue to be of benefit to hundreds of future students.