Gaspare Spontini, in full
Gaspare Luigi Pacifico Spontini (born Nov. 14, 1774,
Maiolati, Papal States [Italy]—died Jan. 24, 1851, Maiolati),
Italian composer and conductor whose early operas, notably
his masterpiece, La vestale (1807), represent the spirit of
the Napoleonic era and form an operatic bridge between the
works of Christoph Gluck and Richard Wagner.
Entering the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini in
Naples in 1793, he studied music with Nicola Sala and
Giacomo Tritto; he left before completing his studies,
however. His first opera, Li puntigli delle donne (“The
Obstinacy of Women”), was performed in Rome in 1796. Its
success led him to continue writing comic operas for Rome,
Venice, Florence, Naples, and Palermo—the most famous was
L’eroismo ridicolo (1798; “Ridiculous Heroism”), which
brought him to the attention of Dominico Cimarosa. He moved
to Paris and in 1799 saw a successful revival of La finta
filosofa (“The Fake Female Philosopher”); he established
himself there with Milton (1804). Influenced by French
composers, Spontini developed the dramatic composition La
vestale (“The Vestal Virgin”) that established his European
reputation. He became conductor of the Italian Opera in 1810
but left two years later for political reasons (he remained
loyal to Joséphine even after her divorce from Napoleon) and
became the court composer to Louis XVIII in 1814. He left
Paris in 1819 after the failure of his opera Olimpie. In
1820 he received an appointment from Frederick William III
of Prussia as director of music at Berlin, where growing
German partisanship placed him under constant attack in the
musical press. Nevertheless, the appointment lasted until
shortly after the king’s death in June of 1840, when
political intrigue forced Spontini to relinquish his duties
and leave Berlin, barely escaping a prison sentence. Except
for a successful revival of La vestale in Dresden, Ger.
(1844), his career was essentially over.
operas by Spontini include La fuga in Maschera (1800; “The
Masked Flight”), Olimpie (1819), Nurmahal (1822), Alcidor
(1825), and Agnes von Hohenstaufen (1829).
"La vestale" - 1807
La vestale (The
Vestal Virgin) is an opera composed by Gaspare Spontini
to a French libretto by Étienne de Jouy. It was first
performed on 15 December 1807 by the Académie Impériale
de Musique (Paris Opera) at the Salle Montansier, and is
regarded as Spontini's masterpiece. The musical style
shows the influence of Gluck and looks forwards to the
works of Berlioz, Wagner and French Grand Opera.
Spontini had finished La vestale by the summer of 1805 but
had faced opposition from leading members of the Opéra and
rivalry from fellow composers. The premiere was made
possible with the help of Spontini's patron, the Empress
Josephine, but only after being rearranged by Jean-Baptiste
Rey and Louis-Luc Loiseau de Persuis. La vestale was an
enormous success, enjoying over two hundred performances by
Its fame soon spread abroad; it first appeared on the
Italian stage in Naples in 1811, and it was performed in
Stockholm in 1823. It was premiered in the United States in
French at Théâtre d'Orléans in New Orleans on 17 February
1828. Important 20th-century revivals include the 1954
production at La Scala with Maria Callas in the title role,
which was the first opera staging by the famous film
director Luchino Visconti. La vestale is famous in
historical terms but is only very infrequently performed.
Two of its arias (translated to Italian and recorded by
Maria Callas and Rosa Ponselle), "Tu che invoco" and "O Nume
tutelar", are better known than the work as a whole. In
recognition of its role in the development of Richard
Wagner's third opera, Rienzi, it was performed in concert
form in Dresden's Semperoper in the Summer of 2013.
Returning to Rome after a victorious campaign, Licinius
finds his beloved Julia has become a priestess of Vesta.
Although Julia attempts to avoid going to Licinius's
triumph, she is delegated to present him with a wreath. He
tells her that he intends to kidnap and reclaim her.
In the temple of Vesta, Julia guards the eternal flame and
prays to be freed of temptation. Licinius arrives; during
their rapturous reconciliation, the flame expires. Licinius
is advised by Cinna to flee. Julia is interrogated by the
High Priest but refuses to name Licinius. She is sentenced
to death for licentiousness.
Despite the pleas of Licinius, Julia is to be buried alive;
even when he admits his intrusion to the Temple, Julia
claims not to recognise him. A thunderstorm ensues, during
which lightning reignites the sacred flame. Recognising this
as a sign from the Gods, the High Priest and Vestal
Priestess release Julia who is then married to Licinius.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spontini: La Vestale.
Montserrat Caballé. Liceu 1982. Full opera.
Nunzio Todisco (Licinio)
Montserrat Caballé (Giulia)
Vicente Sardinero (Cinna)
Graziano Monachesi (Gran sacerdote)
Bruna Baglioni (Gran Vestale)
Ramón Gajas (Console)
Jesús Castillón (Arexpex)
Carlo Felice Cillario (Conductor)
Gran Teatre del Liceu. Barcelona. December, 29. 1982.
La Vestale - Gaspare Spontini
La Grande Vestale - Denyce
Licinius - Anthony Michaels-Moore
Cinna - J Patrick Raftery
Le Souveraine Pontife - Dimitri Kavrakos
Julia - Karen Huffstodt
Le Chef des Auspices - Aldo Bramante
Conductor - Riccardo Muti
Orchestra - Teatro alla Scala
Chorus - Teatro alla Scala
Gaspare Spontini -
Ouverture La Vestale (1807)
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gustav
Maria Callas - La Vestale - Tu che
invoco con orrore (part1) (Hamburg 1959)
Tu che invoco con orrore (La Vestale,
Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Runfunks
Conducted by Nicola Rescigno
Maria Callas - La Vestale - Tu che
invoco con orrore (part2) (Hamburg 1959)
Olimpia: Pilar Lorengar
Statira: Fiorenza Cossotto
Cassandro: Franco Tagliavini
Antigono: Giangiacomo Guelfi
High Priest: Nicola Zaccaria
Hermas: Silvio Majonica
Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala
dir. Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
rec. June 6th 1966.
Cortez" - 1809
Fernand Cortez, ou
La conquête du Mexique (Hernán Cortés, or The Conquest
of Mexico) is an opéra in three acts by Gaspare Spontini
with a French libretto by Etienne de Jouy and
Joseph-Alphonse d’Esmenard. It was first performed on 28
November 1809 by the Académie Impériale de Musique
(Paris Opera) at the Salle Montansier.
Background and performance history
The opera was originally intended as political propaganda to
support the Emperor Napoleon's invasion of Spain in 1808.
Cortez symbolises Napoleon while the bloodthirsty Aztec
priests are meant to represent the Spanish Inquisition. The
emperor himself is said to have suggested the theme of the
opera to Spontini and the premiere was held in his presence.
The popularity of the piece declined with the waning of the
French army's fortunes in Spain.
The 1809 premiere was
famous for its spectacular effects, including the appearance
of 17 live horses on stage. Critics complained about the
adventurous harmony and the loudness of the music. The
richness of the staging, extensive use of dance and the
treatment of an historical subject make Spontini's work the
precursor of French Grand Opera. It was greatly admired by
revised the opera for a revival in Paris on 28 May 1817. Two
further revisions were made for performances in Berlin in
1824 and 1832.
This is based on the original version of 1809.
The opera is based on the story of the Spanish conquistador,
Hernán Cortés, and his invasion of Aztec Mexico. At the
beginning of the opera, Cortez persuades his mutinous troops
not to embark for home. His brother, Alvaro, is a prisoner
of the Aztecs and Cortez is also in love with the Aztec
princess, Amazily. Amazily's brother, Télasco, arrives and
tells the Spaniards to leave Mexico. Cortez responds by
setting fire to his own ships.
The Spaniards advance on the Aztec temple with Télasco their
prisoner. They succeed in freeing Alvaro. Télasco accuses
his sister Amazily of being a traitor and the Aztecs
threaten to behead her if Alvaro is not returned to them.
Amazily decides to sacrifice herself and hands herself over
to the Aztecs. Cortez orders his men to attack the temple.
In the temple, the priests prepare to sacrifice Alvaro when
Amazily arrives. An oracle from the god announces that he
wants the blood of his enemies. News arrives that the Aztec
emperor Montezuma has been captured by the Spaniards. The
high priest decides to go ahead with the sacrifice of
Amazily. The Spaniards arrive just in time to save her.
Amazily and Cortez are united in marriage.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gaspare Spontini - FERNANDO CORTEZ
interpreti: Amazili: Angeles Gulin, Fernando Cortez:
Bruno Prevedi, Alvaro
Aldo Bottion, Telasco: Antonio Blancas Laplaza,
Grande Sacerdote: Luigi Roni
Montezuma: Ivan Stefanov, Morales: Carlo del Bosco
Orchestra e Coro di Torino Rai - Direttore Lovro von
Rai Torino 11.01.1974