The operas of Vincenzo Bellini (1801–35) exhibit compositional traits that, in North American scholarship, have generally been associated with German composers, especially Wagner. Close analysis of passages from Norma, La straniera, and other operas establishes the prevalence in Bellini of tonal pairing, usually (but not always) involving relative keys. The sonorità or focal melodic pitch, long associated with Verdi’s operas, is found to play a unifying role in the second-act finale of Norma. Issues of reception history, text criticism, and analytical methodology are also discussed.

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