The Pievalta winery is located just outside the village of Maiolati Spontini. The following post is by Pievalta manager Silvia Loschi.
Influential opera composer and conductor Gaspare Spontini (left) was born in 1774, in Maiolati, one of the “castles” in the Jesi countryside in the Marches (in other words, one of the castelli di Jesi).
His family was called Sponta, which means spuntò il sol (the sun rose), as the family’s coat of arms shows. Only later was the diminutive added, making their surname Spontini.
He spent most of his career in Paris and Berlin, but returned to his place of birth at the end of his life.
During the first two decades of the 19th century, Spontini was an important figure in French opera. In his more than twenty operas, Spontini strove to adapt Gluck’s classical tragédie lyrique to the contemporary taste for melodrama, for greater spectacle (in “Fernand Cortez” for example), for enriched orchestral timbre, and for melodic invention allied to idiomatic expressiveness of words.
As a youth, Spontini studied at the Conservatorio della Pietà dè Turrchini in Naples.
In 1803, he went to Paris, where he was appointed court composer in 1805.
Written with the encouragement of Empress Joséphine in 1807, Spontini wrote “La Vestale,” his best known work. Its premiere at the Opéra in Paris established Spontini as one of the greatest Italian composers of his age. His contemporaries Cherubini and Meyerbeer considered it a masterpiece, and later composers such as Berlioz and Wagner admired it.
He retired in Maiolati in 1850 where he died the following year. In his honor, Maiolati added to its name the wording “Spontini.”
Nowadays in Maiolati you can visit the house of Gaspare Spontini, now a museum, and have a walk in the beautiful Colle Celeste Park dedicated by the composer to his wife Celeste Erard.
Here’s Maria Callas in “La Vestale,” singing “Tu che invoco con orrore”: