La Vestale

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January 1970

Tragédie lyrique in three acts (1807)
Music by Gaspare Spontini
Libretto by Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy


In French language with German surtitles
New production of the Theater an der Wien



Licinius returned to Rome as victorious general over the Gauls, the city prepares a triumphal procession for the hero, but he only longs to see his beloved Julia again, whom he had to leave behind in Rome five years ago. He began his entire military career because of her, because he was of lesser origin than Julia. To become worthy of her, he wanted to prove his worth on the battlefield. Now he must hear that Julia had had to swear on her father's deathbed that she would become a vestal virgin. As a vestal virgin she had to vow chastity, she breaks the oath, she is walled in alive - the father wanted to prevent such a marriage between her and this upstart even after his death. Licinius laments his despair to his friend Cinna. The two decide to risk kidnapping Julia from the temple of Vesta. Meanwhile, Julia learns that she will be the one to crown the young triumphator with the laurel wreath the next day. Her love for Licinius flares up again, at the same time they torture fear and guilt, she prays to the goddess for salvation from her longing for worldly happiness, but the goddess gives no sign. When Julia alone guards the sacred fire in the temple at night, Licinius penetrates the temple and wants to take her with her. She refuses, but during her passionate conversation the holy fire goes out, which is immediately noticed. Licinius escapes, the chief priest and the vestalesses arrest Julia and condemn her to death. However, she does not reveal the name of her lover, even when Licinius calls himself the guilty one in front of her tomb, she denies him to protect him. Licinius' followers try to prevent Julia from being walled in by insurrection, but finally the goddess herself saves Julia's life: On the extinct fireplace, Julia's veil of Vestal virgins had been laid, and shortly before the last stone closes the tomb, the goddess Vesta sets the veil on fire with a bolt of lightning from heaven and lights the sacred fire anew. She has forgiven Julia, the young couple may marry, the people cheer.  

Program and cast

Theater an der Wien

About the Theater an der Wien

The New Opera House is not just any theatre, but the one that Emanuel Schikaneder, the all-round genius, actor, impresario with a flair for organization but above all librettist of The Magic Flute, had built in 1801 in Vienna in keeping with the spirit of Mozart.

To coincide with the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth the Theater an der Wien presents itself as a new opera house from January 2006. As a “season” opera house with productions all the year round the Theater an der Wien carves a new and independent niche in the realm of high-quality culture in Vienna. For twelve months of the year, with one premiere every month, opera will be performed under the “stagione”, or season, system: that means the cast remains unchanged from the first performance to the last one, which guarantees that the very highest international standards are maintained.

The theatre’s modern, accessible approach to music theatre as demonstrated by the works performed, the overall artistic concept Bespielung and the artistes is further underlined by the building itself, its architecture and the vibrancy of its location. The surroundings and materials, the intimate atmosphere and perfect acoustics in the historical theatre prepare the senses to experience beauty. The Theater an der Wien deliberately enters into a symbiotic relationship with its lively surroundings on the Naschmarkt street market and the young cultural scene centred in the Schleifmühl quarter.

How to get there

With public transport:

We can be reached by public transport: 

U1, U2 und U4 Station Karlsplatz, Exit Secession
Bus 59A Station Bärenmühldurchgang
Bus 57A Station Laimgrubengasse, pedestrians via Laimgrubengasse to Linke Wienzeile

Fleischmarkt 24, 1010 Wien

We can be reached by public transport:
U1, U4: Station Schwedenplatz
Tram Linie D (bei Ablenukung über Kai), 1, 2: Station Schwedenplatz
Bus 3A (on workdays)

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