Personalities | Vincenzo Bellini | Early Romantic | Classical

(Ven-chant’-zo Bel-le’-ne) 1801–35
Italian composer

One of the most important opera composers of the nineteenth century, Bellini cultivated a bel canto (literally ‘fine singing’) melodic style that influenced not only other opera composers but also Chopin and Robert Schumann. He studied first with his grandfather, composing youthful sacred works, ariettas and instrumental pieces, and in 1819 moved to Naples and studied with Zingarelli at the conservatory. He had his first operatic success on completing his studies (Adelson e Salvini, 1825), and was soon invited to write an opera for La Scala, Milan. The resulting work, Il pirata (‘The Pirate’, 1827), laid the foundation of his operatic career. Bellini remained mostly in Milan until 1833, reaching his maturity as an opera composer, before visiting London and Paris. His finest works include La sonnambula (‘The Sleepwalker’, 1831), Norma (1831) and I puritani (‘The Puritans’, 1835). Bellini’s style exudes emotional potency, with the expressive tension often being intensified throughout individual arias, and encompasses a broad range, from rich elegiac lyricism to more forceful and imposing drama.

Recommended Recording:
Norma, soloists incl. Maria Callas, Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milan (cond) Tullio Serafin (EMI/Warner)

Introduction | Early Romantic | Classical
Personalities | Louis-Hector Berlioz | Early Romantic | Classical


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