The central character in La vestale, as in Norma, is a priestess who transgresses her holy vows for love. Spontini’s nobly conceived opera, composed for Paris in the Napoleonic era, brought Callas’s first collaboration on a new production with the great director Luchino Visconti, who described her as “the greatest tragedienne since Duse” (Eleonora Duse, 1858–1924, the legendary Italian actress). Callas was joined in the cast by Franco Corelli and Ebe Stignani, and Arturo Toscanini was a member of the audience that witnessed her triumph in the role of Giulia at the first night at La Scala.
|Giulia (giovane vestale): Maria Callas|
|La Gran Vestale: Ebe Stignani|
|Licinio (generale romano): Franco Corelli|
|Cinna (capo di legione): Enzo Sordello|
|Il Sommo Sacerdote - The High Priest: Nicola Rossi-Lemeni|
|Un console - A Consul: Vittorio Tatozzi|
|Il capo degli aruspici - The Chief Soothsayer: Nicola Zaccaria|