Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – Vincenzo Bellini

3 - Vincenzo-Bellini-detail

Vincenzo Bellini

3 November 1801, Catania, Sicily – 23 September 1835, Puteaux, near Paris, France


Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian operatic composer with a gift for creating vocal melody at once pure in style and sensuous in expression. His influence is reflected not only in later operatic compositions, including the early works of Richard Wagner, but also in the instrumental music of Chopin and Liszt.

Born into a family of musicians (his father was an organist), Bellini produced his first works while still a student at the Naples Conservatory. He gained the patronage of an important impresario, who commissioned Bianca e Fernando for the Naples opera.

Vincenzo Bellini – Bianca e Fernando


The success of this early work was followed by Il pirata (1827), written for La Scala at Milan, that earned him an international reputation. Bellini had as librettist the best Italian theatre poet of the day, Felice Romani, with whom he collaborated in his next six operas. The most important of these were I Capuleti e i Montecchi (1830), based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; La sonnambula (1831; The Sleepwalker); Norma (1831); Beatrice di Tenda (1833)

Vincenzo Bellini – La sonnambula

La sonnambula, an opera semiseria (serious but with a happy ending), became very popular, even in England, where an English version appeared. Bellini’s masterpiece, Norma, a tragedy set in ancient Gaul, achieved lasting success.

Vincenzo Bellini – Norma • Conductor Fabrizio Maria Carminati, Dimitra Theodossiu, Fabio Sartori, Ruxandra Donose, Carlo Colombara

Bellini lived briefly in London and then went to Paris. There, composer Gioachino Rossini’s influence secured for him a commission to write an opera for the Théâtre-Italien. The result was I puritani (1835), the last of Bellini’s nine operas, also a great success.

Vincenzo Bellini – I Puritani

Known for his long-flowing melodic lines, for which he was named „the Swan of Catania„, Bellini was the quintessential composer of bel canto opera.

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Vincenzo Bellini – Norma Casta Diva – Maria Callas



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