Vineenzo Bellini, an Italian composer, born in Catania, Sicily, Nov. 1 or 3, 1802, died at Pnteanx, near Paris, Sept. 24, 1835. His father and grandfather were musicians of indifferent reputation, and he was educated in the conservatory of Naples at the expense of his native town. An opera entitled Bianca e Fernando, produced before he was 24 years old, became so fashionable, thanks to the favor of the court, that he was immediately engaged to write another for La Scala at Milan. This was // Virata (1827), the extraordinary success of which was owing in part to the singing of Rubini. La Stranura followed in 1828, with Tamhurini and Madame Meric-Lalande, and Capuleti ed i Montecchi in 1830; both were well received, but it became customary to substitute for the third act of the latter work an act from Vaccai's more vigorous Romeo e Giu-lietta. The next productions of Bellini, La Sonnambula and Norma, both brought out at Milan in 1831, showed a decided advance. They were written for Madame Pasta, but Malihran probably did more for Norma than any other artist. Beatrice di Tenda (Venice, 1888) was too tragic for the genius of Bellini, though it contains some admirable numbers.
The composer now visited England to superintend the production of one of his works, and thence went to Paris, where he had been engaged to write an opera for the Theatre Italien. The fruit of this contract was his last and best work, I Puritani, produced with Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini, and Lablache in the cast, and received with the utmost enthusiasm. He had made an agreement for another work for Paris, when he died after a few days' sickness. Bellini had slight knowledge of counterpoint; his scores are weak, and his accompaniments commonplace; but he excelled as a fresh, graceful, and fertile melodist, and surpassed all other Italian composers in the sympathetic character of his music. In private life he was estimable, refined, and agreeable.