- Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (
November 3, 1801– September 23, 1835) was a Sicilian opera composer. Known for his flowing melodic lines, Bellini was the quintessential composer of Bel cantoopera.
Catania, Sicily, Bellini was a child prodigy from a highly musical family and legend has it he could sing an aria of Valentino Fioravantiat eighteen months, began studying music theoryat two, the pianoat three, and by the age of five could, apparently, play well. His first composition is said to have dated from his sixth year. Regardless of the veracity of these claims, it is certain that Bellini grew up in a musical household and that a career as a musician was never in doubt.
Having learned from his grandfather, Bellini left provincial Catania in June 1819 to study at the conservatory in Naples, with a stipend from the municipal government of Catania. By 1822 he was in the class of the director Nicolò Zingarelli, studying the masters of the Neapolitan school and the orchestral works of Haydn and Mozart. It was the custom at the Conservatory to introduce a promising student to the public with a dramatic work: the result was Bellini's first opera "
Adelson e Salvini" an "opera semiseria" that was presented at the Conservatory's theater. Bellini's next opera, "Bianca e Gernando", met with some success at the Teatro San Carlo, leading to an offer from the impresario Barbaia for an opera at La Scala. " Il pirata" was a resounding immediate success and began Bellini's faithful and fruitful collaboration with the librettist and poet Felice Romani, and cemented his friendship with his favored tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini, who had sung in "Bianca e Gernando".
Bellini spent the next years, 1827–33 in Milan, where all doors were open to him. Sparking controversy in the press for its new style and its restless harmonic shifts into remote keys, "
La straniera" (1828) was even more successful than "Il pirata", and allowed Bellini to support himself solely by his opera commissions. The composer showed the taste for social life and the dandyism that Heinrich Heineemphasized in his literary portrait of Bellini ("Florentinische Nächte", 1837). Opening a new theater in Parma, his " Zaira" (1829) was a failure at the Teatro Ducale, but Venice welcomed " I Capuleti e i Montecchi", which was based on the same Italian sources as Shakespeare's " Romeo and Juliet".
The next five years were triumphant, with major successes with his greatest works, "
La sonnambula", "Norma" and " I puritani", cut short by Bellini's premature death.
Bellini died in
Puteaux, near Parisof acute inflammation of the intestine, and was buried in the cemetery of Père Lachaise, Paris; his remains were removed to the cathedral of Catania in 1876. The Museo Belliniano housed in the Gravina Cruyllas Palace, in Catania, preserves memorabilia and scores.
Bellini's complete works are to be published in "Edizione critica delle opere di Vincenzo Bellini", Milan: Ricordi 2003-
Adelson e Salvini" (12? February 1825 Teatro del Conservatorio di San Sebastiano, Naples)
Bianca e Gernando" (30 May 1826, Teatro San Carlo, Naples)
Il pirata" (27 October 1827, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
Bianca e Fernando" (7 April 1828, Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa) [rev of Bianca e Gernando]
La straniera" (14 February 1829, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
* "Zaira" (16 May 1829,
Teatro Ducale, Parma)
I Capuleti e i Montecchi" (11 March 1830, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
La sonnambula" (6 March 1831, Teatro Carcano, Milan)
* "Norma" (26 December 1831, Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
Beatrice di Tenda" (16 March 1833, Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
I puritani" (24 January 1835, Théâtre Italien, Paris)
Other important Bel Canto opera composers
* [http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/search.php?query=Bellini%2C+Vincenzo&queryType=%40attr+1%3D1 Bellini cylinder recordings] , from the
Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Projectat the University of California, Santa BarbaraLibrary.
* [http://www.teatromassimobellini.it/ Teatro Massimo Bellini, Catania]
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