Bellini is one of the greatest composers in the bel canto operatic style (literally, ‘beautiful singing’), alongside Donizetti and Rossini.Bellini’s Norma, I Puritani, La Sonnambula and the present I Capuleti e i Montecchi remain frequently performed.With long melodic lines and dramatic expressivity, Bellini’s arias were favorites of such stars as Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Joan Sutherland, Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.
Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi is not Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The Italian tale of star-crossed lovers was already well travelled when adopted by Bellini’s librettist, Felice Romani.Here, Giuletta Capuleti’s father Capellio, and Giuletta’s secret lover, Romeo Montecchi, lead two warring political groups. A disguised Romeo visits to try to defuse the conflict, arriving in the midst of preparations for the nuptials of Guiletta to the Capulet ally, Tebaldo. The attempt goes badly and further conflict seems inevitable. The second scene introduces Guiletta, who, in this recitativo and aria, sings of Romeo’s absence, and gloom toward the coming wedding.