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Vincenzo Bellini

Bellini, Vincenzo (1801-1835), Italian composer, born in Catania, Sicily, and trained at the Conservatory of Music, Naples. The premiere of his first opera, Adelson e Salvini, in 1825, attracted Domenico Barbaja, the director of the San Carlo Opera, Naples, and La Scala, Milan. Barbaja commissioned Bellini to compose Bianca e Gernando for San Carlo in 1826 and Il Pirata for La Scala in 1827. Both operas were very successful, as were La Straniera (The Stranger, 1829) and I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (1830). In 1831 the premieres of two of Bellini's most famous operas, La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) and his masterpiece, Norma, brought him international fame.

These operas were followed in 1833 by the less successful Beatrice di Tenda and in 1835 by his final work, I Puritani. Bellini was a meticulous craftsman. He composed for singers who were masters of bel canto, a singing style stressing vocal agility and precision. He was highly sensitive to the relation between text and music, and his operas gain their greatest dramatic impact through his melodies, which are often admired for a characteristic concentrated beauty.