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Giants of Italian Opera: Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini



Giants of Italian Opera: Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini

10-lecture series curated by Murray Dahm

The names of Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini will always be associated with the most famous and popular operas of the first half of the 19th century. Operas like Il barbiere di Siviglia, Tancredi, L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma and I Puritani have assured their fame and are still regularly performed throughout the world. Yet these three composers wrote so much more (Rossini wrote more than forty operas, Donizetti more than sixty, and Bellini wrote eleven before his life was cut tragically short). As you might expect with such genius composers, listening to any of their works (even those you may not have heard of) reveals delights to the ear.

This 10-lecture series will explore the works of these three giants of Italian opera, placing all three composers in their historical and operatic contexts. We will examine both the well-known works as well as some of their lesser known gems.

rossini flyerRossini was born in Pesaro in 1792, a child prodigy who took Bologna by storm. His first opera came in 1810 at the age of eighteen and over the next nineteen years he composed more than forty operas. Guillaume Tell was Rossini’s last opera, written for Paris and coming in 1829 when Rossini was thirty-seven. From that point on, Rossini retired from opera composition until his death in 1868, the reasons for which have never been fully understood.

Donizetti was five years younger than Rossini, born in Bergamo, in Lombardy, in 1797. Also writing his donizetti flyerfirst opera when he was 18, Donizetti found lasting success after he had moved to Naples with Anna Bolena in 1830. This was followed by L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roberto Devereaux, Don Pasquale and more. Donizetti was prolific, perhaps writing as many as seventy operas.

bellini flyerBellini was born in Catania in Sicily in 1801. He was the eldest of seven and a child prodigy, but from a poor family. Bellini’s first opera came in in 1825 when he was 24 (relatively old for a first-time opera composer). Bellini’s reputation was secured, however, with the smash hit of only his third opera, Il Pirata, in 1827. Thereafter he made a living from his compositions which included I Capuletti e I Montecchi, La sonnambula, Norma and I Puritani. Bellini died at the age of only thirty-four, a tragedy mourned by the entire operatic world.

Murray Dahm, Tutor

Murray Dahm had been delivering lectures on the history of opera in murray dahmAustralia since 2003. He has also lectured in the UK, USA and New Zealand on various aspects of opera. Murray began life as a historian but fell in love with performing opera. He then had a turn directing operas and running his own (small) opera company. He brings a love of opera, performance and the human voice, as well as an appreciation of the historical context to every lecture, not to mention his copious collection of recording and DVDs (!).

The lectures will be held in English.


3 February - 6 April 2020

10.30 am - 12.30 pm


  • $350 (whole series)
  • $35 (per lecture)





Date: Da Monday, February 03, 2020 a Monday, April 06, 2020

Time: From 10:30 am To 12:30 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

In collaboration with : Opera Bites

Entrance : With fee


Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Sydney