Under the terrible dictatorship of Cromwell in England in the 17th century, the Puritans preached in favour of an austere lifestyle, focused on the Bible. A love story emerging from adverse winds offered Bellini a subject that was most definitely conducive to exploiting the facets of the nascent romantic opera style, but also to articulating a wide range of human passions. Elvira’s scene of madness is only equalled by another from a contemporary work, Lucia di Lammermoor.
Based on a true story, the last work by Bellini was composed over a long time, taking nine months. The master amended the libretto and rearranged the music following the advice of Rossini. Its first performance, at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris, was triumphant.I Puritani requires exceptional casting. The vocal quartet, originally formed by Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini and Lablache, is subjected to the most perilous arias of the bel cantorepertoire. Their success gave rise to the nickname the Puritan Quartet, which has remained famous to the present day. However, between cavatina and cabaletta, the composer, who was the king of melody and smoothness, treats us to some of the finest arias of Italian opera!