24 Nov 2011

Composer of the Week – Vicenzo Bellini

by Symphony Gal

Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Bellini

To wrap up National Opera Week, we’d like to wish a late happy birthday to opera composer Vicenzo Bellini, who was born November 3, 1801.

Bellini was a musical prodigy, and it is claimed that he could sing an aria by 18 months, was studying music theory at age two, and the piano at age three. Whether it is true or not, he did grow up in a very musical household, and spent his rather short life studying and composing music. Bellini died at the age of just 33. He is known for very long, lyrical melodic lines, and he is one of the best examples of the bel cantostyle of opera. His operas, including La sonnambulaI puritani, and Norma, are still quite popular today.

This is probably his most famous aria, “Casta Diva” from Norma.


And from La sonnambula, “Ah! non credea mirarti”.
The first line of this is engraved on Bellini’s headstone – “Ah! non credea mirarti Sì presto estinto, o fior”, which translates roughly to “I did not believe you would fade so soon, oh flower”.