Vincenzo Bellini

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Bellini, Vincenzo

(vēnchān`tsō bĕl-lē`nē), 1801–35, Italian opera composer. He acquired his musical training from his grandfather and father, and began composing religious and secular music in his childhood. His first opera, Adelson e Salvini, was successfully performed in 1825. His most celebrated works are the operas La Sonnambula and Norma (both 1831). In their profusely melodic style they exemplify the bel canto tradition of the 18th cent., and their roles demand great virtuosity of the singers. Bellini's last opera, I Puritani (1835), was influenced by the dramatic style of French grand opera. Unlike that of his immediate predecessors, Rossini and Donizetti, his operatic output was small. It was characterized by careful composition, great attention to the relationship between words and music, and an originality of harmony that gave rise to his music's sensual, ecstatic quality. He greatly influenced the work of Verdi.


See study by H. Weinstock (1971).

Bellini, Vincenzo


Born Nov. 3, 1801, in Catania, Sicily; died Sept. 23, 1835, in Puteaux, near Paris. Italian composer.

Bellini came from a family of musicians (his father was a conductor; his grandfather was an organist and composer). He studied at the San Sebastiano Conservatory in Naples. Bellini wrote 11 operas—I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (1830, Fenice Theater, Venice), La Sonnambula (1831, Carcano Theater, Milan), and I Puritani (1835, Théâtre Italien, Paris) were very successful. His most important work is the opera Norma (1831, La Scala, Milan).

The productions of Bellini’s operas were often accompanied by patriotic demonstrations. At the time of the growth of the national liberation movement in Italy, the audience found a timely political content in his operas. Bellini was the greatest master of the Italian bel canto style. The basis of his music is clear vocal melody—fluid, plastic, and distinguished by continuity of development. The outstanding Italian singers perfected their artistry by performing in Bellini’s works.


Serov, A. “Bellini, ego deiatel’nost’ i znachenie.” Panteon, 1854, no. 5.
Konen, V. I storiia zarubezhnoi muzyki, 2nd ed., issue 3. Moscow, 1965. Pages 372–75.
Pougin, A. Bellini, sa vie et ses oeuvres. Paris, 1868.
Pizzetti, J. Vincenzo Bellini, 2nd ed. Milan, 1936.
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