Gaspare Spontini

  • Born: Maiolati Spontini, Italy, 14 November 1774
  • Died: Maiolati Spontini, Italy, 24 January 1851

The father of grand opera, best known for La vestale (1807), an opera admired by Berlioz, Wagner, and Meyerbeer.  Berlioz considered him Spontini “the genius of the century”.

He was, first and foremost, a dramatic composer, whose inspiration grew with the importance of the situations, with the warmth of the emotions, with the violence of the passions he depicted… From these Spontini’s prodigious and sudden explosion of genius in La Vestale, that torrent of ardent ideas; those heart-felt tears; that stream of melodies, noble, touching, proud, and menacing; those warmly coloured harmonies; those unheard-of modulations; that young orchestra armed in the antique manner; and that truth, that deepness in the expression and that wealth of great musical images, imposed with magisterial authority, so naturally embracing the poet’s thought with such force that one cannot conceive that they could ever be separated from the words to which they have been adapted.


  1. Li puntigli delle donne (1796)
  2. Adelina Senese o sia l’Amore secreto (1797)
  3. Il finto pittore (1797/1798; 1800)
  4. L’eroismo ridicolo (1798)
  5. Il Teseo riconosciuto (1798)
  6. La finta filosofa (1799)
  7. La fuga in maschera (1800)
  8. I quadri parlanti (1800)
  9. Gli Elisi delusi (1800)
  10. Gli amanti in cimento, o sia il geloso audace (1801)
  11. Le metamorfosi di Pasquale, o sia Tutto è illusione nel mondo (1802)
  12. La petite maison (1804)
  13. Milton (1804)
  14. Julie, ou Le pot de fleurs (1805)
  15. La vestale (1807) ****
  16. Fernand Cortez (1809; revised 1817, 1824, and 1832) **
  17. Pélage, ou Le roi et la paix (1814)
  18. Les deux rivaux, ou Les fêtes de Cythère (1816; with Kreutzer, Persius, & Berton)
  19. Olimpie (1819; revised 1821 & 1826) ****
  20. Nurmahal, oder des Rosenfest von Caschmir (1822)
  21. Alcidor (1825)
  22. Agnes von Hohenstaufen (1827; revised 1829 & 1837)