Italian News Headlines 27-01-2023 - Sofia Goggia has won the downhill ski race in Cortina d'Ampezzo to claim the 21st World Cup win of her career --- $20 million worth of archaeological treasures have been returned to Italy from the US, including a fresco from Pompei --- Italian doctors carry out the first lung transplant from a living donor --- Italian film actress, Gina Lollobrigida, has died at the age of 95 --- Cosa Nostra boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, has been arrested in Palermo after 30 years on the run
Bellini, Vincenzo Bellini, Norma, Casta diva
Photo: Berthold Werner

Vincenzo Bellini

Born on November 3rd 1801 in Catania, Sicily, Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was the eldest of seven children born into a musical family. The house where he was born is now a museum. His father, Don Rosario Bellini and grandfather, Vincenzo Tobia Bellini, were both organists and music teachers. At the age of two, with his father teaching him to play the piano and his grandfather teaching him musical composition, the young Vincenzo quickly became a child prodigy. By the time he was five years old he could sing complicated arias and was a very accomplished pianist. He began composing music before he had begun his formal education and it is believed he composed his first pieces at the age of six.

The house where Bellini was born in Catania - Photo: G Dallorto

In 1819 he entered the Royal College of Music of San Sebastiano (now known as the Naples Conservatory) and progressed so rapidly that he was offered free tuition. By 1824 he was a highly respected teacher and had written his first opera, Adelson e Salvini, which was performed in February 1825. Shortly after this he was given a commission to write an opera for the San Carlo Opera, the result of which was the completion of Bianca e Gernando in 1826. After the success of this opera he was commissioned nine months later to write an opera for La Scala. Moving to Milan he wrote Il Pirata which was first performed on 27th October 1827 and firmly established Bellini as an internationally acclaimed composer.

Bellini - Portrait by Pietro Lucchini

Vicenzo Bellini wrote only a few operas, firmly believing that quality was better than quantity and charged high prices for his works. However, his next opera, Zaira, which was written for the inauguration of the Teatro Ducale in Parma, was a complete failure and was never performed again. He quickly recovered from this setback and in 1830 produced his opera, Capuleti e i Montecchi, which was based on the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

This successful opera was quickly followed in 1831 by Bellini's two most famous operas, La Sonnambula and Norma. Norma, believed to be one of his finest operas, was not well received initially but has since become know as a masterpiece. The aria 'Casta diva' is now one of the most famous and recognised pieces of opera.

Following the success of these two operas, Bellini's next work was Beatrice di Tenda which was premiered at La Fenice in Venice in 1833. This opera was a failure and whether due to this, or other unknown reasons, Vicenzo Bellini left Italy and spent several months in London directing performances of his operas. He subsequently moved to Paris where he composed his final opera, I puritani, which was premiered and well received on 24th January 1835.

The following September, still only 33 years old and at the height of his career, Vicenzo Bellini died on the 23rd of the month in the town of Puteaux near Paris. His cause of death was put down to severe dysentery due to an intenstinal complaint.

Throughout his short life Bellini had several lady friends and relationships but never married and had no children. His tomb is now inside the Cathedral of Catania in Sicily.

Tomb of Bellini in Catania Cathedral - Photo: Berthold Werner

Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was one of the most important Italian composers with a reputation for fine craftsmanship and an ability to forge an intricate relationship between the music and the words of an opera. His vocal melodies were both pure and sensual and it is said that in order to perform one of his operas the singers must have extremely agile voices.

Vicenzo Bellini wrote various musical pieces and songs but his main compositions were operas, of which he wrote nine:

  • Adelson e Salvini - 1824
  • Bianca e Gernando - 1826
  • Il pirata - 1827
  • Zaira - 1829
  • Capuleti e i Montecchi - 1830
  • La Sonnambula - 1831
  • Norma - 1831
  • Beatrice di Tenda
  • I Puritani - 1835

The Best Italian Handmade Gifts
Direct From Italy

Bellini, Vincenzo Bellini, Norma, Casta diva

More Details

Map of Italy
Facts & Figures
Area: 301,225 km²
Population: 60,157,214
Capital: Rome
Currency: Euro (€)
Calling code: +39
Internet TLD: .it

Current local time in
Rome, Italy
Italian Flag
Italian Coat of Arms
Euro Exchange Rates
Exchange Rates
Other pages you might like
Roma Province
Piacenza Province
Hand Made Gifts From Italy
Enter your email address below to receive our free newsletter, containing extracts from our most recent articles, a window on Italian news, fashion, music and culture,
useful information for visiting and living in Italy as wll as our latest, delicious Italian recipes.

We will not use your email address for any other purpose or pass it on to any other organisation and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.