Guilty of allowing the sacred fire to go out while declaring her love to the general Licinius, the Vestal Virgin Julia is sentenced to be buried alive. But her execution is averted by a divine intervention, which rekindles the altar flame and absolves the victim. The simple plot of Gaspare Spontini’s La Vestale achieved resounding success in 1807 thanks to the highly skilled treatment of the characters psychology and the transparency of the political allusions – Licinius is an allegory of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Yet the work is more than a mere piece of propaganda: it represents one of the links between the tragédie lyrique of the Ancien Régime and the future grand opéra à la française, even anticipating Bellinian bel canto.
Recorded from the 17th to 20th of June 2022 at Riffx Sudios of la Seine Musicale.
This recording was made possible thanks to the exceptional support of Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet, Grand Mécène of the Talens Lyriques’ season