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Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Bellini's life

Vincenzo Bellini was born in 1801 in Catania, Sicily, in a musical family, Bellini was an exceptionally gifted child. He began studying music theory at two and started getting his first piano lessons from his father when he turned three. By the time he was six years old he had written his five pieces. Very soon his sacred pieces were being heard in Catania churches and his ariettas and instrumental works in the salons of aristocrats. In 1819, Bellini left Catania to study at the Conservatory in Naples, with a scholarship 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. Bellini produced an opera semiseria, Adelson e Salvini in 1825 which brought him to write for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and also Teatro alla Scala of Milan. In 1827, his opera Il pirata became an amazing success. The librettist was Felice Romani, a great Italian theatre poet of the day, with whom he composed his next six operas.
From 1827 to 1833 he remained in Milan and wrote La sonnambula and Norma which brought him on the international musical scenes.Bellini went to Paris where he was commissioned to write I puritani for the Théâtre-Italien. While in Paris, he formed a close acquaintance with Rossini and got to know Chopin and other musicians. I puritani received a good success in 1835 and Bellini was appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d′honneur.
His fame allowed him to support himself only on his opera commissions.Bellini died in Puteaux, near Paris in 1835 of acute inflammation of the intestine.

Bellini's Operas

Adelson e Salvini (1824), Bianca e Fernando (1826), Il pirata (1827), La straniera (1829), Zaira (1829), I Capuleti e i Montecchi (1830), La sonnambula (1831), Norma (1831), Beatrice di Tenda (1833), I puritani (1835).


Bellini's Norma

Norma is one of the most essential title among Italian melodramas of the Nineteenth Century. It is a central piece of work in Vincenzo Bellini's musical production (however, the debut on 26th December 1831, wasn't a total success, but it got better later on). Norma lives in eternal melodies («...those long long melodies...» commented Giuseppe Verdi at the time). A pure musical structure which mixes the neoclassical equilibrium with romantic glimpses, defining a musical panel where Bellini's art reaches the top. The gigantic theatrical-musical role of the protagonist, somehow recalls the one of the cruel and flamboyant Medea. Norma reaches a point where she thinks about killing her own sons, whom she had with her faithless lover Pollione. However, unlike Medea, who will carry out the atrocious plan, she won't do that, but will rather burn at the stake, next to the man who had betrayed her, confirming their incorrupt love.
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