Bel canto (literally beautiful singing) is an Italian musical term. It refers to the art and science of vocal technique which originated in Italy during the late sixteenth century and reached its pinnacle in the early part of the nineteenth century during the Bel Canto opera era. Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti are the best-known exponents of this style, which flourished from approximately 1810 to 1830.
To sing bel canto opera is supremely difficult, calling for exceptional refinement of tone, agility, legato, range, and breath control.
The soprano Maria Callas was the best-known bel canto singer of the postwar period.