Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini 

Italian Romantic opera composer.  Along with Gioacchino Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti, Bellini is considered one of the leaders of the bel canto ("beautiful singing") style of Italian opera.

Born, November 3, 1801 in Catania, Sicily, Bellini lived with his grandfather, a church organist.  Bellini's musical talent showed itself early, and a local nobleman sponsored Bellini's attendance at the Royal Conservatory in Naples.  Bellini's best-known teacher was the composer Zingarelli.

Eventually, Bellini's work drew the attention of the director of La Scala in Milan, who commissioned Bellini to compose Il Pirata. Bellini set himself up in Milan as a freelance composer, and with librettist Felice Romani and the best virtuosi Milan had to offer, he made himself famous with I Capuleti e i Montecchi, La sonnambula, and his best-known opera, Norma.

After moving to Paris in 1833, Bellini made many new friends and connections, especially Rossini.

However, in Paris, Bellini lived a rather dissolute life.  Even though I puritani was another triumph, he fought frequent bouts of dysentery.  He succumbed to dysentery while visiting friends in Puteaux on September 23, 1835, aged 33.  Donizetti composed the lament Venne Sull'ali ai Zeffiri in Bellini's memory.  He was buried in Paris, and his remains were moved back to Catania in 1876.

Today, Norma is part of any opera company's standard repertoire.   La sonnambula and I Puritani are also frequently performed.
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