November 3, 1801: Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini is born in Palazzo Gravina Cruylias in the Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, Catania, Kingdom of Sicily, the eldest of seven children in a family of musicians. He is the son of Rosario Bellini, composer, maestro di cappella and music teacher in Catania, and Agata Ferlito, daughter of a bookkeeper.
May 5, 1819: The Decurionato (city council) of Catania, Sicily vote to grant their favorite son, Vincenzo Bellini (17), a pension enabling him to go to Naples to study.
June 18, 1819: Vincenzo Bellini (17) arrives in Naples from Catania to matriculate at the Real College de musica di San Sebastiano.
May 30, 1821: Vincenzo Bellini (19) and a fellow student, Francesco Florimo, publicly proclaim “Long Live our King Ferdinand, consecrated by God and by Right” on the King’s name day, at Teatro San Carlo, Naples. They were suspected of being involved with the recent uprising of the Carbonari, and they are required to make this proclamation after a confession.
October 4, 1821: A setting of the Mass by Vincenzo Bellini (19) is performed for the first time, in the church of San Francesco d’Assisi, Catania.
May 30, 1826: Bianca e Gernando, a melodramma by Vincenzo Bellini (24) to words of Gilardoni after Roti, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples before the royal family on the name day of King Ferdinando. It will receive 25 performances this season and will later be staged as Bianca e Fernando .
April 12, 1827: Vincenzo Bellini (25) arrives in Milan from Naples with a contract to produce an opera.
October 27, 1827: Il pirata, a melodramma by Vincenzo Bellini (25) to words of Romani after Taylor, is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. It is an immediate hit. He decides to stay in Milan.
January 28, 1828: A three-member commission in Naples appointed by King Francesco I refuses to allow the performance of a mass by Vincenzo Bellini (26) because it is composed in a “theatrical manner.”
April 7, 1828: Gaetano Donizetti’s (30) Inno reale to words of Romani is performed for the first time, for the inauguration of Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa. The first production in the new theatre is the premiere of Bianca e Fernando (second version), a melodramma by Vincenzo Bellini (26) also to words of Romani after Gilardoni after Roti. See 30 May 1826.
June 16, 1828: In spite of offers from Turin, Venice, and Naples, Vincenzo Bellini (26) signs a contract with Teatro alla Scala, Milan to produce an opera next Carnival.
February 14, 1829: La straniera, a melodramma by Vincenzo Bellini (27) to words of Romani after Prévôt, is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. It is even more successful than last year’s Il pirata.
May 16, 1829: Vincenzo Bellini’s (27) tragedia lirica Zaira to words of Romani after Voltaire is performed for the first time, in the new Teatro Ducale, Parma. It is a failure.
March 11, 1830: I Capuleti e I Montecchi, a tragedia lirica by Vincenzo Bellini (28) to words of Romani after Scevola, is performed for the first time, in Teatro La Fenice, Venice. It is very well received.
May 21, 1830: Vincenzo Bellini (28) suffers a loss of appetite and “bilious gastric inflammatory fever” in Milan. It will take him over a month to recover. This is most likely amoebic dysentery, the disease that will eventually kill him.
March 6, 1831: La sonnambula, a melodramma by Vincenzo Bellini (29) to words of Romani after Scribe and Aumer, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Carcano, Milan, to great success. A sojourning Russian named Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (26) is in the audience. “Shterich and I...embraced one another and shed a flood of tears from emotion and joy.”
December 26, 1831: Vincenzo Bellini’s (30) tragedia lirica Norma to words of Romani after Soumet is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. Tonight’s production is a not well received, but later performances are most successful.
January 5, 1832: Vincenzo Bellini (30) sets out from Milan on a long journey to Naples and Sicily. It will become a “triumphal procession” wherever he goes.
March 16, 1833: Beatrice di Tenda, a tragedia lirica by Vincenzo Bellini (31) to words of Romani after Tedaldi-Fores, is performed for the first time, in Teatro La Fenice, Venice. It is not successful and Bellini is faulted. Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (28) remembers “Despite all Pasta's efforts in the part of Beatrice, the work was not a success.”
May 13, 1833: Symphony no.4 “Italian” by Felix Mendelssohn (24) is performed for the first time, in London, directed by the composer. Nicolò Paganini (50) is among the listeners. He asks Mendelssohn to play Beethoven (†6) sonatas with him. Vincenzo Bellini (31) is also there and the two composers meet. Although the London public is growing increasingly fond of Mendelssohn, the criticisms of the symphony are mixed.
January 24, 1835: I puritani, a melodramma serio by Vincenzo Bellini (33) to words of Pepoli after Ancelot and Xavier, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre-Italien, Paris. Gioachino Rossini (42), who is present, reports that the work is “a brilliant success.” The composer will write that by the end of the duet (Il rival salvar tu dei) “the French had all gone crazy.”
January 31, 1835: King Louis-Philippe of France signs the appointment of Vincenzo Bellini (33) as Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
February 3, 1835: At the third performance of I Puritani at the Théâtre-Italien, Paris, the decree and ribbon making him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor are presented to Vincenzo Bellini (33).
March 31, 1835: This is the last performance of I Puritani because the opera season in Paris ends today. Every performance since 31 January has been sold out. Vincenzo Bellini (33) will write “it was impossible for me to show my face in the stalls without the audience applauding me, and so many people turned around to look at me that I had to remain in hiding.” (Galatopoulos, 387)
September 9, 1835: Bedridden at Puteaux, Vincenzo Bellini (33) is visited by a doctor sent from Paris by Princess Belgioiso.
September 23, 1835: 17:00 Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini dies alone at the country house of Solomon Levy at 19 bis rampe de Neuilly in the Paris suburb of Puteaux, Seine, Kingdom of France, aged 33 years, ten months, and 20 days.
September 25, 1835: An autopsy on the body of Vincenzo Bellini shows “an acute inflammation of the large intestine, complicated by an abscess of the liver.” The cause of death is amoebic dysentery.
October 2, 1835: A Requiem mass for Vincenzo Bellini is held at Les Invalides. According to a report, “Paer, Cherubini (75), Carafa and Rossini (43) each held one corner of the shroud.” Bellini’s earthly remains are laid to rest in Pére-Lachaise Cemetery between those of Andre Ernest Modeste Grétry (†22) and François-Adrien Boieldieu (†0). See 15 September 1876.
September 15, 1876: The casket containing the earthly remains of Vincenzo Bellini (†40) is removed from its tomb in Paris for transport to the composer’s birthplace.
September 26, 1876: The casket containing the earthly remains of Vincenzo Bellini is reinterred in the Duomo of Catania, Sicily, the composer’s birthplace, three days after the 41st anniversary of his death.
January 2, 1958: Maria Callas walks out of a performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s (†122) Norma in Rome, claiming horseness. The house superintendant says that Ms. Callas was celebrating the new year “until a late hour.” The audience, which includes President Giovanni Gronchi, is moved to near riot.