Spontini, Gaspare gäs´pärā spōntē´nē [key], 1774–1851, Italian opera composer. Spontini studied music in Naples. He went to Paris in 1803, was soon backed by the Empress Josephine, won a prize from Napoleon for La Vestale (1807), and became court composer under Louis XVIII. In 1819 he was a leading musician at the court of Frederick William III of Prussia. Besides La Vestale, on which he worked for three years, Spontini had great successes with Fernand Cortez (1809), Olympie (1819, revised several times), and Nurmahal (1822). The pageantry and rich orchestration of his operas were greatly admired. In 1810, Spontini staged the first Paris performance of Don Giovanni in its original form. His operas underwent something of a revival in the late 20th and early 21st cent.
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