Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini ( born November 3, 1801 in Catania, Sicily, † 23 September 1835 at Puteaux, near Paris ) was an Italian opera composer.


Vincenzo Bellini was the oldest son of Rosario Bellini (1776-1840) and Agata Ferlito. He was born as the son and grandson of church musicians. ( The date of birth is uncertain. ) As a three year old, he began playing the piano; as to compose a six year old, in the church choir he attracted early attention; the age of twelve he learned the chamber music of Haydn and Mozart know. He received his first music lessons from his grandfather Vincenzo Tobia Bellini (1744-1829), who came from the Abruzzo region and had come in 1767 to Catania, where he had worked as Kapellmeister at the Cathedral. Between 1813 and 1818 Bellini's first compositions were created ( most do not exactly datable ), in addition to some settings of sacred texts, especially small instrumental pieces and songs with piano accompaniment for the salons of high society in Catania, was quickly found to Bellini access. The Duke and Duchess of Sammartino enabled him to study at the Real Collegio di Musica di San Sebastiano in Naples, which he attended from 1819 to 1825. His principal teachers were there first Giovanni Furno (harmony ), Giacomo Tritto ( counterpoint) and Carlo Conti ( harpsichord); later taught him the famous Nicola Zingarelli, director of the Conservatory, and even an esteemed opera composer. In those years in Naples, the composition of Bellini 's only work for organ, an organ sonata falls.

At the Conservatory Theatre Bellini led on 12 March 1825 his journeyman's piece on the opera Adelson e Salvini. Their success made Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, attention to Bellini. Barbaja was known (even Gioachino Rossini had promoted it ) for his discoveries of promising talents; he gave the order for the Bellini opera Bianca e Fernando, which was released on May 30, 1826 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and experienced such a success that opened the gates of La Scala in Milan and the houses of fashionable society ..

Then also the Teatro alla Scala in Milan interested in a cooperation with Bellini. In Milan, he met the librettist Felice Romani, of the text for Il Pirata and all his following operas (except the last opera I Puritani ) wrote to him to the Count Carlo Pepoli the textbook authored. . The premiere of Il Pirata on October 27, 1827 at La Scala Bellini gave the breakthrough. It shall at the same time as the birth of romantic Italian opera. La Straniera (14 February 1829 Teatro alla Scala) underlined Bellini's position as one of the now leading Italian opera composers, which could not be shaken by the failure of Zaira (May 16 in 1829 Teatro Ducale in Parma). From the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, he was offered the libretto I Capuleti ei Montecchi Romanis ( independent of William Shakespeare version of Romeo and Juliet substance ) set to music after the originally intended for this purpose Giovanni Pacini was canceled at short notice. In order to deliver its new plant in time, Bellini used bigger parts of the hapless Zaira in reworked form. At the premiere on March 11, 1830 I Capuleti ei Montecchi were received with applause; one was Bellini particularly grateful that he had "saved" the season, which would have otherwise gone without a novelty to an end.

In the summer of 1830, Bellini and Romani were working on a new opera Ernani after the beginning of the same year, first performed in Paris drama Hernani by Victor Hugo. When the substance was banned by the censor as a precaution, they broke off the work. In the following carnival game time friend and Bellini 's most successful competitor Gaetano Donizetti Anna Bolena celebrated on December 26, 1830 at the Teatro Carcano in Milan a spectacular triumph. In order to avoid direct competition, Bellini chose for his new opera La Sonnambula, which came out on March 6, 1831 at the same theater, rather than a historical subject in an idyllic Swiss village story with a happy ending. According to the report of the composer Mikhail Glinka both the singers and the audience of Bellini's music should have been moved to tears.

For the next opera Norma Romani edited by Alexandre Soumet a tragedy that had already served Giovanni Pacini as the basis for his opera La Sacerdotessa d' Irminsul. For the fiasco at the premiere of Norma on December 26, 1831 in the Scala especially the clique of followers Pacini is held responsible, which should have booed fee Bellini's opera, which was common at the time. From the second performance, however, Norma began to enforce and was soon hailed as a masterpiece.

1832 Bellini traveled across Naples to his native Sicily, where they gave him a triumphant reception. Then he was invited to London to rehearse several of his works. His next collaboration with Felice Romani should be the last. After Beatrice di Tenda had failed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice on March 16, 1833 Bellini was the textbook Romanis the debt; this, in turn, accused the composer to neglect the art of his love affairs. These disputes between the two artists and their supporters have been for weeks held publicly in the press and led to the split between the poet and composer.

Indeed, Bellini's love life was marked by three women who " Tre Giuditta ": the noble Milanese Giuditta Cantu, who was married to the silk manufacturers and composer Fernando Turina; the singer Giuditta Pasta, the first Amina, Norma, Beatrice; and Giuditta Grisi, for which he wrote the roles of Romeao and Adalgisa.

His last opera composed by Bellini for the Théâtre-Italien in Paris, where I Puritani premiered on January 25, 1835. This triumph of France's first job was hailed, crowned by a Legion of Honour and an audience with Queen Maria Amalia. When shortly afterwards aggravated his long-standing liver and intestinal distress, Bellini retired to his country house in Puteaux back. His death on September 23, 1835 came as a surprise to all outsiders and led to speculation about a possible poisoning. Bellini was honored with a ceremony on the dimensions of a state funeral. At the funeral on October 2, 1835 at the Invalides in addition to soloists of the Théâtre-Italien had 350 choristers with; the burial took place at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. 1876 ​​Bellini's embalmed body was transferred to Catania. Puteaux is now part of La Défense, the skyscraper district in the west of Paris, and a part of Puteaux is now called "Quartier Bellini ".


Vincenzo Bellini is the creator of romantic Italian opera, " Melodramma tragico ". His Hauptlibrettist Felice Romani has a significant share of this creation. In Norma, which is regarded as Bellini and Romani's major work, both managed a novel combination of elements of the then emerging horror romantic with the dramaturgy of the classical tragedy. Even Richard Wagner Norma praised as an example of a musical tragedy. Romanis highly sophisticated, technically trained on examples of the 18th century, such as Pietro Metastasio language will also set a new tone for the passionate increased sensations, of which the characters in the drama are controlled.

To be fair Romanis texts, Bellini created an equally novel musical language which is mainly characterized by the breakdown of the time initially dominant style Gioacchino Rossini. In place of the ornate vocal lines Rossini Bellini used a predominantly syllabic melody with close reference to the text. This principle of " one note per syllable" seems to have been rarely implemented as consistently as in the duet from La Quest'ultimo addio Straniera. From this radical position Bellini is slightly removed again in his subsequent works. La Sonnambula, Norma beside his most frequently performed opera, characterizes mainly the revival of smooth, melodic folk -influenced, as was typical of the Neapolitan school of the late 18th century, enriched by a new romantic sensibility. This " canto popolaresco " was then taken up by Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi, Bellini on the whole has a strong influence exercised. In addition, Bellini developed still a very unique type of long ausgesponnener lyrical melodic lines that do entirely without repetitions of individual passages and achieve a previously unknown intensity in the expression of elegiac moods. Prime examples of this " melody lunghe, lunghe, lunghe " as Verdi called them, are the first part of the final aria " Ah non credea mirarti " from La Sonnambula and " Casta Diva", the famous prayer to the goddess of the moon from Norma.

The luxurious treatment of the orchestra Rossini has Bellini deliberately reduced and often limited, especially in his most famous pieces on emphasizes simple accompaniment figures. This has previously been often interpreted it as a lack of compositional skill, but corresponds to its aesthetics from the dominance of the song. Opposite Conte Carlo Pepoli, the librettist of I Puritani, he said ( in an undated letter probably from spring 1834): " The opera must elicit tears that make people shudder and let die by singing. " Often you have Bellini so as a one-sided melancholy nature considered, but there is enough evidence to the contrary as the Warriors Choir " Guerra, guerra " in the second act of Norma or the fiery bass duet " Suoni la tromba " from I Puritani, which enjoyed great popularity during the Risorgimento.

Works (selection)