Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini was born in Catania, Sicily. He had a musical education from an early age at the hands of his father, and later went on to study at the Naples Conservatory. By the time he was 27 he had earned his first commission from La Scala in Milan, and it was this that established his career.
He became known for his incredible capacity for writing vocal melodies, such as in the famous aria 'Casta Diva' from his opera Norma. As one of the names most closely associated with the 19th century bel canto tradition, he had the privilege of writing for incredibly skilled virtuoso singers. He is also well known for writing incredible 'mad scenes', representing women pushed to the limit of their mental and emotional capacity.
Many of his works are still favorites in the operatic canon today, including Norma, La Sonnambula, I capuleti e i Montecchi, and I puritani.
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