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The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (November 3, 1801September 23, 1835) was an Italian opera composer. Foremost a lyricist, Bellini was the quintessential composer of Bel canto opera.



Born in Catania, Sicily, Italy, Bellini was a child prodigy and legend has it he could sing an air of Firoavanti at eighteen months, began studying music theory at two, the piano at three, and by the age of five could play well. His first composition dates 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.

Bellini died in Puteaux, near Paris, and was buried next to Chopin in Pere Lachaise.


Bellini is best known for his opera Norma, the title role of which is considered the most difficult role in the soprano repertoire. During the 20th century, only a small number of singers were able to assay it with success: Rosa Ponselle in the early 1920s, later Joan Sutherland in the 1950s and 1960s. Maria Callas was the famous Norma of the postwar period; she performed it many times and recorded it twice.

Main operas

  • Adelson e Salvini (12.2.1825 Teatro del Conservatorio di S. Sebastiano , Naples)
  • Bianca e Gernando (30.5.1826 Teatro San Carlo, Naples)
  • Il pirata (27.10.1827 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Bianca e Fernando (7.4.1828 Teatro Carlo Felice , Genoa) [rev of Bianca e Gernando]
  • La straniera (14.2.1829 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Zaira (16.5.1829 Teatro Ducale , Parma)
  • I Capuleti e i Montecchi (11.3.1830 Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • La sonnambula (6.3.1831 Teatro Carcano , Milan)
  • Norma (26.12.1831 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Beatrice di Tenda (16.3.1833 Teatro La Fenice, Venice)
  • I puritani di Scozia (24.1.1835 Théâtre Italien , Paris)

Other important Bel Canto opera composers

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