World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

La vestale

Article Id: WHEBN0000356085
Reproduction Date:

Title: La vestale  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Maria Callas, Alexandrine-Caroline Branchu, Luchino Visconti, List of opera librettists, Operas by Gaspare Spontini
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

La vestale

La vestale

(The Vestal Virgin) is an opera composed by Gaspare Spontini to a French libretto by Étienne de Jouy. It takes the form of a tragédie lyrique in three acts. 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.[1] The musical style shows the influence of Gluck and looks forwards to the works of Berlioz, Wagner and French Grand Opera.[2]

Contents

  • Composition history 1
  • Performance history 2
  • Roles 3
  • Synopsis 4
    • Act 1 4.1
    • Act 2 4.2
    • Act 3 4.3
  • Recordings 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Composition history

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.[3] 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.[4] La vestale was an enormous success, enjoying over two hundred performances by 1830.[5]

Performance history

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.[6] 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.[3] 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.

Roles

Role Voice type[7] Premiere cast[8]
15 December 1807
(Conductor: Jean-Baptiste Rey)
Licinius, Roman general tenor Étienne Lainez
Cinna, head of a legion tenor François Lays or Lay
Chief Priest bass Henri-Étienne Dérivis
Julia, young vestal soprano Alexandrine-Caroline Branchu
The Great Vestal mezzo-soprano Marie-Thérèse Maillard
Chief of the Aruspices bass Duparc
A consul bass Martin

Synopsis

Place: Rome
About 269 BC

Act 1

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.

Act 2

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.

Act 3

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.

Recordings

References

Notes

  1. ^ Holden, p. 1002
  2. ^ Holden, pp. 1003–4; Wagner conducted La vestale in Dresden in 1844 (source:Del Teatro).
  3. ^ a b Del Teatro
  4. ^ Castil-Blaze 1855, p. 115
  5. ^ Barbier p.72
  6. ^ Warrack & West 1992, p. 741.
  7. ^ According to Anselm, p. 978.
  8. ^ According to the original score, p. 1.
  9. ^ a b c Source of some of the recordings in this list: operadis-opera-discography.org.uk

Sources

  • Original score: La Vestale, tragédie lyrique en 3 actes de M. Jouy, mise en musique par Gaspard Spontini, Paris, Pacini, s.d. (accessible for free online at Gallica - BNF)
  • Barbier, Patrick (1995), Opera in Paris 1800-1850 Amadeus Press.
  • Castil-Blaze (1855), L'Academie imperiale de musique, Vol. II, Paris:
  • La vestaleDelTeatro.it: background, synopsis for (Italian)
  • Faul, Michel (2009), Les aventures militaires, littéraires et autres de Étienne de Jouy de l'Académie française, Éditions Seguier. ISBN 978-2-84049-556-7
  • Anselm, Gerhard, Vestale, La, in Sadie, Stanley (ed.) (1997). The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Grove (Oxford University Press), New York, 1997, IV, pp. 977–979. ISBN 978-0-19-522186-2
  • Holden, Amanda (ed.) (2001), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
  • Warrack, John; West, Ewan (1992). The Oxford Dictionary of Opera. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-869164-5.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.