Vincenzo Bellini
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1801-11-03
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/6f5bfd20-84cc-4879-8a40-05631ad576c7
Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Bellini Biography (BBC)

Sicily’s most famous composer was born in Catania on 3 November 1801 to a family of professional musicians. He was something of a prodigy, composing already in his pre-teens. In 1819 he was sent to the Naples Conservatoire where, in addition to conventional academic exercises and study of Mozart and Haydn, he was encouraged by his mentor Niccolò Zingarelli to immerse himself in the folk music of Sicily and develop his characteristic song style. Zingarelli proudly followed his star pupil’s career; Norma was dedicated to him.

Bellini’s first opera, Adelson e Salvini, was written for the Conservatoire in 1825 and its success led to the San Carlo management commissioning his next, Bianca e Fernando, premiered the following year (when it was renamed Bianca e Gernando out of respect for the late King Ferdinando).This in turn led to a commission from La Scala, Milan, for Il pirata (1827), another signal success, and one that spread his fame abroad. Thereafter Bellini led a charmed life as a composer, working only to commission, seldom hurrying (unlike Donizetti) and commanding generous fees. As a person he was liked by contemporaries for his charm, but he was also quick to take offence, jealous of such potential rivals as Donizetti, and a somewhat calculating womaniser.

The librettist of Il pirata was Felice Romani, who became a lifelong collaborator, supplying the texts for La straniera (Milan, 1829), Zaira (Parma, also 1829), I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Venice, 1830), La sonnambula (Milan, 1831) and Norma (Milan, also 1831). The two fell out over Beatrice di Tenda (Venice, 1833), one of Bellini’s rare – at the time – failures, but the composer’s view of Beatrice as ‘not unworthy of her sisters’ has been proved right. Romani was sorely missed in what was to be Bellini’s last opera, I puritani (Paris, 1835), to a well-meaning but somewhat amateurish libretto by Count Carlo Pepoli. The star tenor in Il pirata was Rubini, with whom Bellini also forged a professional relationship: he had sung in Bianca, and created the tenor roles in Sonnambula and Puritani. Pasta was another star with whom he worked regularly, in Sonnambula, Norma and Beatrice.

The most immediately striking aspect of Bellini’s style is his command of long-breathed melody, much admired by Verdi, and his fusion of melody with text, just as much admired by Wagner, and indeed emulated, not just in Das Liebesverbot but as far ahead as Tristan. But there was more to Bellini than elegiac melos: the full-frontal Romanticism and musical violence of Pirata was enormously influential, and at the time the martial duet ‘Suoni la tromba’ in Puritani appealed to audiences more than Elvira’s Mad Scene. Perhaps most important was his development of very carefully orchestrated accompanied recitative, or arioso, to separate set numbers, which pointed far ahead to through-composed opera.

Given what he had already achieved, Bellini’s early death from gastro-enteritis and liver infection, at the age of only 33, was as tragic a waste as that of Mozart.

Profile © Rodney Milnes, 2004




Featured Works


Vincenzo Bellini Tracks

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Vincenzo Bellini
Vaga luna, che inargenti
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Vaga luna, che inargenti
Vincenzo Bellini
Dolente immagine di Fille mia
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Dolente immagine di Fille mia
Vincenzo Bellini
Il fervido desiderio
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Il fervido desiderio
Vincenzo Bellini
Oboe Concerto in E flat (arr for trumpet)
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Oboe Concerto in E flat (arr for trumpet)
Vincenzo Bellini
CU21 Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Overture)
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CU21 Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Overture)
Vincenzo Bellini
Sonnambula Act 2 scene 2 - 'Ah non credea mirarti'
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Sonnambula Act 2 scene 2 - 'Ah non credea mirarti'
Vincenzo Bellini
Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio (I Capuleti e i Montecchi)
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Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio (I Capuleti e i Montecchi)
Vincenzo Bellini
Ah ! non credea mirarti.... Ah! non giunge (La sonnambula)
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Ah ! non credea mirarti.... Ah! non giunge (La sonnambula)
Vincenzo Bellini
La Sonnambula, Act 1: Come per me sereno
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La Sonnambula, Act 1: Come per me sereno

La Sonnambula, Act 1: Come per me sereno

Performer
Edita Gruberova (soprano), Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Kurt Eichorn (conductor)
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva (Norma, Act 1)
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Casta Diva (Norma, Act 1)
Vincenzo Bellini
Il Pirata - Act 2
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Il Pirata - Act 2
Vincenzo Bellini
Il Pirata - Act 1
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Il Pirata - Act 1
Vincenzo Bellini
Oboe Concerto in E flat major
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Oboe Concerto in E flat major
Vincenzo Bellini
Oboe Concerto in E flat major
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Oboe Concerto in E flat major
Vincenzo Bellini
La Sonnambula - Act 2
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La Sonnambula - Act 2

La Sonnambula - Act 2

Singer
Petya Ivanova
Martin Susnik
Luka Brajnik
Valentina Cuden
Irena Petkova
Jure Pockaj
Bogdan Stopar
Choir
Slovene National Theatre Chorus
Director
Zsuzsa Budvari-Novak
Orchestra
Slovene National Theatre Orchestra
Conductor
Simon Robinson
Vincenzo Bellini
La Sonnambula - Act 1 scene 2
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La Sonnambula - Act 1 scene 2

La Sonnambula - Act 1 scene 2

Singer
Petya Ivanova
Martin Susnik
Luka Brajnik
Valentina Cuden
Irena Petkova
Jure Pockaj
Bogdan Stopar
Choir
Slovene National Theatre Chorus
Director
Zsuzsa Budvari-Novak
Orchestra
Slovene National Theatre Orchestra
Conductor
Simon Robinson
Vincenzo Bellini
La Sonnambula - Act 1 scene 1
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La Sonnambula - Act 1 scene 1

La Sonnambula - Act 1 scene 1

Singer
Petya Ivanova
Martin Susnik
Luka Brajnik
Valentina Cuden
Irena Petkova
Jure Pockaj
Bogdan Stopar
Choir
Slovene National Theatre Chorus
Director
Zsuzsa Budvari-Novak
Orchestra
Slovene National Theatre Orchestra
Conductor
Simon Robinson
Vincenzo Bellini
Oboe Concerto in E flat major
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Oboe Concerto in E flat major
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva (Norma)
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Casta Diva (Norma)
Vincenzo Bellini
Norma Overture
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Norma Overture
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva (Norma)
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Casta Diva (Norma)
Vincenzo Bellini
Oboe Concerto in E flat major
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Oboe Concerto in E flat major
Vincenzo Bellini
Norma (Overture)
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Norma (Overture)
Vincenzo Bellini
Vaga luna che inargenti
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Vaga luna che inargenti

Vaga luna che inargenti

Orchestra
Sinfonietta Riga Chamber Orchestra
Vincenzo Bellini
Ma rendi pur contento
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Ma rendi pur contento
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva (Norma)
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Casta Diva (Norma)

Casta Diva (Norma)

Performer
Maria Callas
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, Milan
Tullio Serafin
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva (Norma)
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Casta Diva (Norma)
Vincenzo Bellini
Per pieta bell'idol mio
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Per pieta bell'idol mio
Vincenzo Bellini
Adelson e Salvini (Act 1: Die piacer la voce...)
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Adelson e Salvini (Act 1: Die piacer la voce...)
Vincenzo Bellini
Norma: Act 1, Aria. 'Ah! Bello a me ritorna'
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Norma: Act 1, Aria. 'Ah! Bello a me ritorna'
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta diva (Norma, Act 1)
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Casta diva (Norma, Act 1)
Vincenzo Bellini
Norma, Act I, Scene 1: Air de Norma "Casta Diva" (Arr. for Piano & Viola)
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Norma, Act I, Scene 1: Air de Norma "Casta Diva" (Arr. for Piano & Viola)
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva
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Casta Diva
Vincenzo Bellini
Col sorriso d'innocenza
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Col sorriso d'innocenza

Col sorriso d'innocenza

Orchestra
Orchestra Della Radiotelevisione Italiana
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva from Norma
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Casta Diva from Norma
Vincenzo Bellini
Il pirata - Overture
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Il pirata - Overture

Il pirata - Overture

Orchestra
German Opera Berlin Orchestra
Vincenzo Bellini
Norma (Casta diva... Ah! bello a me ritorna)
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Norma (Casta diva... Ah! bello a me ritorna)
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva (Norma)
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Casta Diva (Norma)

Casta Diva (Norma)

Singer
Dinara Alieva
Orchestra
Vincenzo Bellini
Overture (Norma)
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Overture (Norma)
Vincenzo Bellini
Bellini, Rossini & Gounod arias etc
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Bellini, Rossini & Gounod arias etc

Bellini, Rossini & Gounod arias etc

Singer
Agunda Kulaeva
Alexei Tatarintsev
Orchestra
Novaya Opera Orchestra
Conductor
Andrei Lebedev
Vincenzo Bellini
Norma: Act I - Casta Diva
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Norma: Act I - Casta Diva

Norma: Act I - Casta Diva

Performer
Leontyne Price (Soprano), the Ambrosian Opera Chorus, John McCarthy (Director)
Vincenzo Bellini
Casta Diva
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Casta Diva
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