November 3, 1801 - Catania (Italy) — September 23, 1835 - Puteaux (France)
Born in Catania at the very beginning of the 19th century, Vincenzo Bellini is the most iconic composer of the bel canto era. Among his most famous operas, we can quote I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (1830), La Sonnambula (1831), Norma (1831), Beatrice di Tenda, and I Puritani (1835) (1833).
Vincenzo Bellini was born in a family of music lovers and musicians. He is the oldest of seven children. His musical skills were noticed when he was still very young, and as a child, he trained with his grandfather.
At the age of 18, the young Bellini moved to Naples to perfect his musical education. There, he met another great composer of the century: Gaetano Donizetti, and saw his first Rossini operas. Both composers were about to influence him.
Career and premature death
His first opera, Bianca e Fernando, was premiered in 1826, and encountered great success, helped by the enthusiasm of the king himself (who broke the tradition and applaused at the end of the performance) and of Donizetti, who attended the performance.
Between 1827 and 1831, Bellini lived in Northern Italy, in Milan mainly. At that time, he composed and premiered four great masterpieces, Il pirata, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, La sonnambula, and Norma. Following these successes, Bellini moved to London and then Paris, where he died prematurely at the age of 34. First buried at the Père Lachaise, Vincenzo Bellini's corpse was then transferred to Catania, where it now lies at the heart of the Duomo Santa Agata.
The heritage of Vincenzo Bellini
Bellini's art influenced composers like Verdi and Wagner, but also Chopin and Liszt.
Many places in Catania (Sicily) bear Bellini's name, including the Teatro Massimo Bellini, a beautiful opera house inaugurated in 1890 with a performance of Norma.