Four operas found that no-one missed

Four operas found that no-one missed


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2016

Four lost scores of Gaspare Spontini (1774-1851) have turned up in a Belgian castle. They are:

Il quadro parlante (melodramma buffo, 1800, Palermo)

Il geloso e l’audace (drama giocoso, 1801, Rome)

Le metamorfosi di Pasquale ossia Farsa (farsa giocosa, 1802, Venice)

L’eccelsa gara (cantata, 1806, Paris).

spontini operas

As you were.


  • Halldor says:

    Well, Berlioz rated him, anyway.

    • David Osborne says:

      As did Wagner, at least at first. At that time he was considered by many to be one of the great composers.

  • Sergio says:

    Muti’s recording of his opera La Vestale is quite good. I would be interested in hearing other works by him

  • Paul Mauffray says:

    In fairness, how can you say “that no one missed” it? No one missed the Bach B-minor Mass until its first public performance over 100 years after Bach had died.

    We simply don’t know what we are missing until we experience it and should therefore give these unknown works a chance. Similarly, I am in the process of reviving “The Burlesque Opera Tabasco” which is a comic operetta by George Whitefield Chadwick that was last heard (and popular) in 1894. It may be merely a light hearted parody of opera in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan, but before one dismisses it, it is worth considering the Antonin Dvorak awarded Chadwick as America’s greatest composer, and that award was given during a run of Tabasco in New York while Dvorak was there! In his credit, years later the symphonic works of Chadwick were being performed by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Gustav Mahler. So yes, one may think that they have not missed this rare gem, but then no one has even had a chance yet to know what they might have been missing.

    • MWnyc says:

      Does the operetta involve actual Tabasco sauce?
      Mmmm …

      • Paul Mauffray says:

        Yes! Tabasco sauce was invented in 1868 by the McIlhenny company, and it is the main plot element in this show. The composer Chadwick and librettist R. A. Barnet wrote the operetta about the Tabasco sauce and completed it before they realized that they might have needed to get permission from the McIlhenny company! You can read all about it on wikipedia and view excerpts on youtube.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    I love it when things thought lost are re-found.

    Old silent movies, old scores, strange ancient gospels…

  • Gary Carson says:

    Spontini is a great composer. I cannot wait to hear these new discoveries. His La Finta Filosofa is charming; Teseo riconosciuto is lovely. La Vestale is a great opera.

  • Gary Carson says:

    I doubt if any of you ha
    d ever heard of Spontini before the discovery, let alone heard enough of his gorgeous music to sit in judgement.