Otto mesi in due ore
Otto mesi in due ore ossia Gli esiliati in Siberia is an opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Domenico Gilardoni. The original story comes from the 1806 novel, Elisabeth, ou Les exilés de Sibérie, written by Sophie Ristaud Cottin. Luigi Marchionni's subsequent play, La figlia dell’esiliato, ossia Otto mesi in due ore, first performed in Italy in 1820, was the more immediate basis for Gilardoni's libretto; the opera has two substantially re-worked versions, Élisabeth ou la fille de l'exilé, Elisabetta, both of which received their first performances some 150 years after Donizetti's death. 19th century The opera underwent many revisions and changes of title over the years, with a performance history nearly as convoluted as its plot. Its first version premiered with the title Otto mesi in due ore at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples on 13 May 1827, was performed 50 times in its first season. In 1831, it was presented in Florence by Luigi Astolfi to only limited success as Gli esiliati in Siberia.
In 1832, Donizetti revised the opera somewhat, adapting the original soprano role of Elisabetta for the popular Austro-Hungarian contralto, Caroline Ungher. He revised the opera further for its premiere in Livorno in 1833. Between 1838 and 1840 Donizetti re-worked the opera again, adding new music, for a longer version, Élisabeth ou la fille de l'exilé, intended for performance in Paris; the new French libretto was written by Adolphe de Léon-Lévy Runswick. The American musicologist Will Crutchfield has suggested that by this point, it had now a become a separate opera from Otto mesi in due ore, although retaining many elements of the original. However, the new work was never staged in Donizetti's lifetime. Donizetti subsequently offered Elisabetta, to Her Majesty's Theatre in London; this version was never performed in his lifetime. The Italian composer Uranio Fontana, who claimed to have been a pupil of Donizetti, attempted to resurrect the French version after Donizetti's death; however according to Will Crutchfield, Fontana did not have access to Donizetti's revised score, which by this time had ended up in London.
Instead, he tried to set the original score of Otto mesi to the longer De Leuven and Brunswick libretto and composed the missing music himself. The Fontana version premiered at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris in 1853. 20th century and beyond The long forgotten score for Elisabetta was found in the basement of London's Royal Opera House. Acts 1 and 3 were found by Will Crutchfield in 1984, Act 2 by Richard Bonynge in 1988, it received its first performance, with the score edited by Will Crutchfield and Roger Parker, at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 16 December 1997. Carlo Rizzi conducted the Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus in a concert performance with Andrea Rost singing the role of Elisabetta, the young Juan Diego Flórez as Count Potoski; the first performance of the 1840 French version, Élisabeth ou la fille de l'exilé, using only Donizetti's music, took place at the Caramoor International Music Festival on 17 July 2003. Will Crutchfield conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke's in a semi-staged production.
Irini Tsirakidis sang the role of Élisabeth, Yeghishe Manucharyan was Count Potoski. To prepare the Caramoor performing edition, Crutchfield worked with the French manuscript, using the orchestration from the London version, the original score of Otto mesi in due ore to construct the final aria; the recitatives from Elisabetta were adapted to spoken dialogue as the French version was intended to be an opéra comique. Saimika, Siberia Having been wrongly exiled, Count Stanislao Potoski, his wife, Countess Fedora, their daughter, are living in a ramshackle dwelling attached to an abbey. Elisabetta vows to undertake an arduous journey on foot to Moscow to seek a pardon from the Tsar; the shores of the Kama River Elisabetta is befriended by Tartar hordes, who had threatened her but were won over by her innocence and virtue. She meets Ivano, the man responsible for her parents' exile, now working as a ferryman at the river; when the river floods, Elisabetta saves herself by making a raft from the wooden tomb of Ivano's dead daughter.
A grand chamber in the Kremlin The Grand Marshal, partly responsible for the Potoski family's exile, tries to cause trouble for Elisabetta. She manages to reach the Tsar, who in the meantime has received a letter from his messenger Michele explaining the injustice of their exile; the Tsar pardons the whole family who are reunited in Moscow. As Otto mesi As Elisabetta Notes Cited sources Borroni, Fernanda Mariani. "Astolfi, Luigi". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Volume 4. Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Canning, Hugh, "Replacement value", The Sunday Times, 21 December 1997. Accessed 25 June 2011 Lamb, Gregory M. "Lost and Found", The Christian Science Monitor, 27 June 2003. Accessed 25 June 2011 Milnes, Rodney, "Bizarre - but boring", The Times, 18 December 1997. Reprinted on jcarreras.homestead.com. Accessed 25 June 2011 Porter, Andrew, "Return of the exile", The Times ], 2 January 1998. Accessed 25 June 2011 Rosenberg, Marion Lignana, "Donizetti's Elisabeth at Caramoor", Opera News, October 2003, on mondo-marion.com.
Accessed 25 June 2011 Tommasini, Anthony, "A Donizetti Discovery, Reinterpreted", The New York Times, 19 July 2003. Accessed 25 June 2011Other sources Ashbrook, William and His Operas, Ca
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi. Donizetti was born in Bergamo in Lombardy. Although he did not come from a musical background, at an early age he was taken under the wing of composer Simon Mayr who had enrolled him by means of a full scholarship in a school which he had set up. There he received detailed training in the arts of counterpoint. Mayr was instrumental in obtaining a place for the young man at the Bologna Academy, where, at the age of 19, he wrote his first one-act opera, the comedy Il Pigmalione, which may never have been performed during his lifetime. Over the course of his career, Donizetti wrote 70 operas. An offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer's ninth opera, led to his move to that city and his residency there which lasted until the production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844.
In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti's operas. Before 1830, success came with his comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences. However, his first notable success came with an opera seria, Zoraida di Granata, presented in 1822 in Rome. In 1830, when Anna Bolena was premiered, Donizetti made a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene and this shifted the balance of success away from comedic operas, although after that date, his best-known works included comedies such as L'elisir d'amore and Don Pasquale. Significant historical dramas did succeed. Up to that point, all of his operas had been set to Italian libretti. Donizetti found himself chafing against the censorship limitations which existed in Italy. From about 1836, he became interested in working in Paris, where he saw much greater freedom to choose subject matter, in addition to receiving larger fees and greater prestige. Starting in 1838 with an offer from the Paris Opéra for two new works, he spent a considerable part of the following ten years in that city, set several operas to French texts as well as overseeing staging of his Italian works.
The first opera was a French version of the then-unperformed Poliuto which, in April 1840, was revised to become Les martyrs. Two new operas were given in Paris at that time; as the 1840s progressed, Donizetti moved between Naples, Rome and Vienna, continuing to compose and stage his own operas as well as those of other composers. But from around 1843, severe illness began to limit his activities. By early 1846 he was obliged to be confined to an institution for the mentally ill and, by late 1847, friends had him moved back to Bergamo, where he died in April 1848; the youngest of three sons, Donizetti was born in 1797 in Bergamo's Borgo Canale quarter, located just outside the city walls. His family was poor and had no tradition of music, his father Andrea being the caretaker of the town pawnshop. Simone Mayr, a German composer of internationally successful operas, had become maestro di cappella at Bergamo's principal church in 1802, he founded the Lezioni Caritatevoli school in Bergamo in 1805 for the purpose of providing musical training, including classes in literature, beyond what choirboys ordinarily received up until the time that their voices broke.
In 1807, Andrea Donizetti attempted to enroll both his sons, but the elder, was considered too old. Gaetano was accepted. While not successful as a choirboy during the first three trial months of 1807, Mayr was soon reporting that Gaetano "surpasses all the others in musical progress" and he was able to persuade the authorities that the young boy's talents were worthy of keeping him in the school, he remained there for nine years, until 1815. However, as Donizetti scholar William Ashbrook notes, in 1809 he was threatened with having to leave because his voice was changing. In 1810 he applied for and was accepted by the local art school, the Academia Carrara, but it is not known whether he attended classes. In 1811, Mayr once again intervened. Having written both libretto and music for a "pasticcio-farsa", Il piccolo compositore di musica, as the final concert of the academic year, Mayr cast five young students, among them his young pupil Donizetti as "the little composer"; as Ashbrook states, this "was nothing less than Mayr's argument that Donizetti be allowed to continue his musical studies".
The piece was performed on 13 September 1811 and included the composer character stating the following: Ah, by Bacchus, with this aria / I'll have universal applause. / They'll say to me, "Bravo, Maestro! / I, with a sufficiently modest air, / Will go around with my head bent... / I’ll have eulogies in the newspaper / I know how to make myself immortal. In reply to the chiding which comes from the other four characters in the piece after the "little composer"'s boasts, in the drama the "composer" responds with: I have a vast mind, swift talent, ready fantasy—and I'm a thunderbolt at composing; the performance included a waltz which Donizetti played and for which he received credit in the libretto. In singing this piece, all five young me
Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera is an Austrian opera house and opera company based in Vienna, Austria. It was called the Vienna Court Opera. In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera; the members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra. The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, it was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka. The Ministry of the Interior had commissioned a number of reports into the availability of certain building materials, with the result that stones long not seen in Vienna were used, such as Wöllersdorfer Stein, for plinths and free-standing, simply-divided buttresses, the famously hard stone from Kaisersteinbruch, whose colour was more appropriate than that of Kelheimerstein, for more lushly decorated parts.
The somewhat coarser-grained Kelheimerstein was intended as the main stone to be used in the building of the opera house, but the necessary quantity was not deliverable. Breitenbrunner stone was suggested as a substitute for the Kelheimer stone, stone from Jois was used as a cheaper alternative to the Kaiserstein; the staircases were constructed from polished Kaiserstein, while most of the rest of the interior was decorated with varieties of marble. The decision was made to use dimension stone for the exterior of the building. Due to the monumental demand for stone, stone from Sóskút used in Budapest, was used. Three Viennese masonry companies were employed to supply enough masonry labour: Eduard Hauser, Anton Wasserburger and Moritz Pranter; the foundation stone was laid on 20 May 1863. The building was, not popular with the public. On the one hand, it did not seem as grand as the Heinrichshof, a private residence, destroyed in World War II. Moreover, because the level of Ringstraße was raised by a metre in front of the opera house after its construction had begun, the latter was likened to "a sunken treasure chest" and, in analogy to the military disaster of 1866, was deprecatingly referred to as "the'Königgrätz' of architecture".
Eduard van der Nüll committed suicide, ten weeks Sicardsburg died from tuberculosis so neither architect saw the completion of the building. The opening premiere was Don Giovanni, by Mozart, on May 25, 1869. Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth were present. Towards the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera was set alight by an American bombardment; the front section, walled off as a precaution, remained intact including the foyer, with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room. The auditorium and stage were, destroyed by flames as well as the entire décor and props for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes; the State Opera was temporarily housed at the Vienna Volksoper. Lengthy discussion took place about whether the opera house should be restored to its original state on its original site, or whether it should be demolished and rebuilt, either on the same location or on a different site; the decision was made to rebuild the opera house as it had been, the main restoration experts involved were Ernst Kolb and Udo Illig.
The Austrian Federal Chancellor Leopold Figl made the decision in 1946 to have a functioning opera house again by 1949. An architectural competition was announced, won by Erich Boltenstern; the submissions had ranged from a complete restructuring of the auditorium to a replica of the original design. In order to achieve a good acoustic, wood was the favoured building material, at the advice of, among others, Arturo Toscanini. In addition, the number of seats in the parterre was reduced, the fourth gallery, fitted with columns, was restructured so as not to need columns; the façade, entrance hall and the "Schwind" foyer remain in their original style. In the meantime, the opera company, which had at first been performing in the Volksoper, had moved rehearsals and performances to Theater an der Wien, where, on May 1, 1945, after the liberation and re-independence of Austria from the Nazis, the first performances were given. In 1947, the company went on tour to London. Due to the appalling conditions at Theater an der Wien, the opera company leadership tried to raise significant quantities of money to speed up reconstruction of the original opera house.
Many private donations were made, as well as donations of building material from the Soviets, who were interested in the rebuilding of the opera. The mayor of Vienna had receptacles placed in many sites around Vienna for people to donate coins only. In this way, everyone in Vienna could say they had participated in the reconstruction and feel pride in considering themselves part owners. However, in 1949, there was only a temporary roof on the Staatsoper, it was not until November 5, 1955, after the Austrian State Treaty, that the Staatsoper could be reopened with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Karl Böhm. The American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was present; the state broadcaster ORF used the occasion to make its first liv
Order of the Sun of Peru
The Order of the Sun of Peru known as the Order of the Sun, is the highest award bestowed by the nation of Peru to commend notable civil and military merit. The award is the oldest civilian award in the Americas, first being established in 1821; the Order was instituted on 8 October 1821 by General José de San Martín upon reaching Lima, to recognize those who had distinguished themselves in the campaign against the Spanish Royalists. It was discontinued four years after many grantees started to use the award as a nobility title, similar to the earlier Castile titles awarded by the colonial government. All such nobility titles were abolished by 1828; the Order was re-established in 1921. The award consists of the following classes: Grand Cross with diamonds Grand Cross Grand Officer Commander Officer Knight Emperor Haile Selassie Emperor Akihito Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom King Albert II of Belgium King Juan Carlos I of Spain King Felipe VI of Spain King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden King Olav V of Norway King Haakon VII of Norway King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom Queen Letizia of Spain Queen Sofía of Spain Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands Infanta Elena of Spain Infanta Christina of Spain Prince Michael of Kent Takahito, Prince Mikasa Kiko, Princess Akishino Fumihito, Prince Akishino Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa Ramón Miranda Ampuero Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold G.
E. Berrios Leonid Brezhnev Ernesto Burzagli Rosa Campuzano Arturo "Zambo" Cavero Gerardo Chavez Rafael Correa Roberto Dañino Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco Plácido Domingo Jose Antonio Meier Espinosa Juan Diego Flórez Francisco Estévanez Rodríguez Frank Freyer Charles de Gaulle Herbert Hervey, 5th Marquess of Bristol Thor Heyerdahl Guillermo Hillcoat Disaku Ikeda Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Alexei Kosygin Sergey Lavrov Lee Hsien Loong Martín Vizcarra Paul McCartney Dmitry Medvedev José Mujica Pat Nixon, 1970 Valentín Paniagua George Papandreou Maria Reiche Ford O. Rogers Maria Rostworowski Manuela Sáenz Haile Selassie Andrew B. Shea Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala Yma Sumac Fernando de Szyszlo Julio C. Tello Valentina Tereshkova Danilo Türk Donald Tusk Pablo Grimberg Umansky Somchai Wongsawat Gian Marco Zignago Werlich, Robert.. Orders and Decorations of All Nations: Ancient and Modern and Military. Washington, D. C.: Quaker Press. OCLC 390804 myetymology
Carousel is the second musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The 1945 work was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline; the story revolves around carousel barker Billy Bigelow, whose romance with millworker Julie Jordan comes at the price of both their jobs. He participates in a robbery to provide for their unborn child. A secondary plot line deals with millworker Carrie Pipperidge and her romance with ambitious fisherman Enoch Snow; the show includes the well-known songs "If I Loved You", "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" and "You'll Never Walk Alone". Richard Rodgers wrote that Carousel was his favorite of all his musicals. Following the spectacular success of the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma!, the pair sought to collaborate on another piece, knowing that any resulting work would be compared with Oklahoma!, most unfavorably. They were reluctant to seek the rights to Liliom. After acquiring the rights, the team created a work with lengthy sequences of music and made the ending more hopeful.
The musical required considerable modification during out-of-town tryouts, but once it opened on Broadway on April 19, 1945, it was an immediate hit with both critics and audiences. Carousel ran for 890 performances and duplicated its success in the West End in 1950. Though it has never achieved as much commercial success as Oklahoma!, the piece has been revived, recorded several times and was filmed in 1956. A production by Nicholas Hytner enjoyed success in 1992 in 1994 in New York and on tour. Another Broadway revival opened in 2018. In 1999, Time magazine named Carousel the best musical of the 20th century. Ferenc Molnár's Hungarian-language drama, premiered in Budapest in 1909; the audience was puzzled by the work, it lasted only thirty-odd performances before being withdrawn, the first shadow on Molnár's successful career as a playwright. Liliom was not presented again until after World War I; when it reappeared on the Budapest stage, it was a tremendous hit. Except for the ending, the plots of Liliom and Carousel are similar.
Andreas Zavocky, a carnival barker, falls in love with Julie Zeller, a servant girl, they begin living together. With both discharged from their jobs, Liliom is discontented and contemplates leaving Julie, but decides not to do so on learning that she is pregnant. A subplot involves Julie's friend Marie, who has fallen in love with Wolf Biefeld, a hotel porter—after the two marry, he becomes the owner of the hotel. Desperate to make money so that he, Julie and their child can escape to America and a better life, Liliom conspires with lowlife Ficsur to commit a robbery, but it goes badly, Liliom stabs himself, he dies, his spirit is taken to heaven's police court. As Ficsur suggested while the two waited to commit the crime, would-be robbers like them do not come before God Himself. Liliom is told by the magistrate that he may go back to Earth for one day to attempt to redeem the wrongs he has done to his family, but must first spend sixteen years in a fiery purgatory. On his return to Earth, Liliom encounters his daughter, who like her mother is now a factory worker.
Saying that he knew her father, he tries to give her a star. When Louise refuses to take it, he strikes her. Not realizing who he is, Julie finds herself unable to be angry with him. Liliom is ushered off to his fate Hell, Louise asks her mother if it is possible to feel a hard slap as if it was a kiss. Julie reminiscently tells her daughter that it is possible for that to happen. An English translation of Liliom was credited to Benjamin "Barney" Glazer, though there is a story that the actual translator, was Rodgers' first major partner Lorenz Hart; the Theatre Guild presented it in New York City in 1921, with Joseph Schildkraut as Liliom, the play was a success, running 300 performances. A 1940 revival, with Burgess Meredith and Ingrid Bergman was seen by both Rodgers. Glazer, in introducing the English translation of Liliom, wrote of the play's appeal: And where in modern dramatic literature can such pearls be matched—Julie incoherently confessing to her dead lover the love she had always been ashamed to tell.
The temptation to count the whole scintillating string is difficult to resist. In the 1920s and 1930s, Rodgers and Hammerstein both became well known for creating Broadway hits with other partners. Rodgers, with Lorenz Hart, had produced a string of over two dozen musicals, including such popular successes as Babes in Arms, The Boys from Syracuse and Pal Joey; some of Rodgers' work with Hart broke new ground in musical theatre: On Your Toes was the first use of ballet to sustain the plot, while Pal Joey flouted Broadway tradition by presenting a knave as its hero. Hammerstein had written or co-written the words
La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala; the premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta. Most of Italy's greatest operatic artists, many of the finest singers from around the world, have appeared at La Scala; the theatre is regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world and is home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet and La Scala Theatre Orchestra. The theatre has an associate school, known as the La Scala Theatre Academy, which offers professional training in music, stage craft and stage management. La Scala's season opens on Saint Ambrose's Day, the feast day of Milan's patron saint. All performances must end before midnight, long operas start earlier in the evening when necessary; the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, accessible from the theatre's foyer and a part of the house, contains a collection of paintings, statues and other documents regarding La Scala's and opera history in general.
La Scala hosts the Accademia d'Arti e Mestieri dello Spettacolo. Its goal is to train a new generation of young musicians, technical staff, dancers. A fire destroyed the previous theatre, the Teatro Regio Ducale, on 25 February 1776, after a carnival gala. A group of ninety wealthy Milanese, who owned private boxes in the theatre, wrote to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este asking for a new theatre and a provisional one to be used while completing the new one; the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini produced an initial design but it was rejected by Count Firmian. A second plan was accepted in 1776 by Empress Maria Theresa; the new theatre was built on the former location of the church of Santa Maria alla Scala, from which the theatre gets its name. The church was deconsecrated and demolished and, over a period of two years, the theatre was completed by Pietro Marliani, Pietro Nosetti and Antonio and Giuseppe Fe; the theatre had a total of "3,000 or so" seats organized into 678 pit-stalls, arranged in six tiers of boxes above, the'loggione' or two galleries.
Its stage is one of the largest in Italy. Building expenses were covered by the sale of boxes, which were lavishly decorated by their owners, impressing observers such as Stendhal. La Scala soon became the preeminent meeting place for wealthy Milanese people. In the tradition of the times, the main floor had no chairs and spectators watched the shows standing up; the orchestra was in full sight. Above the boxes, La Scala has a gallery—called the loggione—where the less wealthy can watch the performances; the gallery is crowded with the most critical opera aficionados, known as the loggionisti, who can be ecstatic or merciless towards singers' perceived successes or failures. For their failures, artists receive a "baptism of fire" from these aficionados, fiascos are long remembered. For example, in 2006, tenor Roberto Alagna was booed off the stage during a performance of Aida; this forced his understudy, Antonello Palombi, to replace him mid-scene without time to change into a costume. As with most of the theatres at that time, La Scala was a casino, with gamblers sitting in the foyer.
Conditions in the auditorium, could be frustrating for the opera lover, as Mary Shelley discovered in September 1840: At the Opera they were giving Otto Nicolai's Templario. As is well known, the theatre of La Scala serves, not only as the universal drawing-room for all the society of Milan, but every sort of trading transaction, from horse-dealing to stock-jobbing, is carried on in the pit. La Scala was illuminated with 84 oil lamps mounted on the stage and another thousand in the rest of theatre. To prevent the risks of fire, several rooms were filled with hundreds of water buckets. In time, oil lamps were replaced by gas lamps, these in turn were replaced by electric lights in 1883; the original structure was renovated in 1907. In 1943, during World War II, La Scala was damaged by bombing, it was rebuilt and reopened on 11 May 1946, with a memorable concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini—twice La Scala's principal conductor and an associate of the composers Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini—with a soprano solo by Renata Tebaldi, which created a sensation.
La Scala hosted the first productions of many famous operas, had a special relationship with Verdi. For several years, Verdi did not allow his work to be played here, as some of his music had been modified by the orchestra; this dispute originated in a disagreement over the production of his Giovanna d'Arco in 1845. The premiere of his last opera, Falstaff was given in the theatre. In 1982, the Filarmonica della Scala was established, drawing its members from the larger pool of musicians that comprise the Orchestra della Scala; the theatre underwent a major renovation from early 2002 to late 2004. The theatre closed following the traditional 7 December 2001 se
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer, known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named "the Swan of Catania". Many years in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi "praised the broad curves of Bellini's melody:'there are long melodies as no-one else had made before'."A large amount of what is known about Bellini's life and his activities comes from surviving letters—except for a short period—which were written over his lifetime to his friend Francesco Florimo, whom he had met as a fellow student in Naples and with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship. Other sources of information come from correspondence saved by other friends and business acquaintances. Bellini was the quintessential composer of the Italian bel canto era of the early 19th century, his work has been summed up by the London critic Tim Ashley as:... hugely influential, as much admired by other composers as he was by the public. Verdi raved about his "long, long melodies..." Wagner, who liked anyone but himself, was spellbound by Bellini's uncanny ability to match music with text and psychology.
Liszt and Chopin professed themselves fans. Of the 19th-century giants, only Berlioz demurred; those musicologists who consider Bellini to be a melancholic tunesmith are now in the minority. In considering which of his operas can be seen to be his greatest successes over the two hundred years since his death, Il pirata laid much of the groundwork in 1827, achieving early recognition in comparison to Donizetti's having written thirty operas before his major 1830 triumph with Anna Bolena. Both I Capuleti ed i Montecchi at La Fenice in 1830 and La sonnambula in Milan in 1831 reached new triumphal heights, although Norma, given at La Scala in 1831 did not fare as well until performances elsewhere. "The genuine triumph" of I puritani in January 1835 in Paris capped a significant career. Il pirata, Capuleti, La sonnambula, I puritani are performed today. After his initial success in Naples, most of the rest of his short life was spent outside of both Sicily and Naples, those years being followed with his living and composing in Milan and Northern Italy, and—after a visit to London—then came his final masterpiece in Paris, I puritani.
Only nine months Bellini died in Puteaux, France at the age of 33. Born in Catania, at the time part of the Kingdom of Sicily, the eldest of seven children in the family, he became a child prodigy within a musical family, his grandfather, Vincenzo Tobia Bellini, had studied at the conservatory in Naples and, in Catania from 1767 forward, had been an organist and teacher, as had Vincenzo's father, Rosario. An anonymous twelve-page hand-written history, held in Catania's Museo Belliniano, states that he could sing an aria by Valentino Fioravanti at eighteen months, that he began studying music theory at two years of age and the piano at three. By the age of five, he could play "marvelously"; the document states that Bellini's first five pieces were composed when he was just six years old and "at seven he was taught Latin, modern languages and philosophy". Author Herbert Weinstock regards some of these accounts as no more than myths, not being supported from other, more reliable sources. Additionally, he makes the point in regard to Bellini's apparent knowledge of languages and philosophy: "Bellini never became a well-educated man".
One critic, Stellios Galatopoulos, deliberates the "facts" presented in the précis, but provides a reliable source for these compositions, Galatopoulos expresses some skepticism regarding the young Bellini's child prodigy status. After 1816, Bellini began living with his grandfather, from whom he received his first music lessons. Soon after, the young composer began to write compositions. Among them were the nine Versetti da cantarsi il Venerdi Santo, eight of which were based on texts by Metastasio. By 1818, Bellini had independently completed several additional orchestral pieces, he was ready for further study. For well-off students, this would include moving to Naples. While his family wasn't wealthy enough to support that lifestyle, Bellini's growing reputation could not be overlooked, his break came when Stefano Notabartolo, the duca di San Martino e Montalbo and his duchess, became the new intendente of the province of Catania. They encouraged the young man to petition the city fathers for a stipend to support his musical studies.
This was achieved in May 1819 with unanimous agreement for a four-year pension to allow him to study at the Real Collegio di Musica di San Sebastiano in Naples. Thus, he left Catania in July carrying letters of introduction to several powerful individuals, including Giovanni Carafa, the intendente of the Real Collegio as well as being in charge of the city's royal theatres; the young Bellini was to live in Naples for the following eight years. The Conservatorio di San Sebastiano had moved to more spacious facilities close to the church of Gesù Novo and the building occupied by the nuns of San Sabastiano, was run by the government and there, who wore a semi-military uniform, were obliged to live under a tight daily regimen of classes in principal subjects, in singing and instrumental coaching, plus basic education, their days were long, going from early morning mass at 5:15 am to ending by 10 pm. Although beyond the normal age for admission, Bellini had submitted ten pieces of music for consideration.