Maometto II

Maometto II

Maometto II is an opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini, to an Italian libretto by Cesare della Valle, set in the 1470s during the time of the war between the Turks and Venetians. Della Valle based his libretto on his earlier play Anna Erizo. The name of the title character, Maometto II, refers to the real-life Ottoman Turkish Sultan, the Great Conqueror of Istanbul Mehmed II, who lived from 1432 to 1481.


Composition history

The opera was written as Rossini's composing career was beginning to slow down to one opera per year, and it appeared almost a year after Bianca e Falliero, although it was succeeded very quickly by Matilde di Shabran.[1] Rossini began composing the opera in May 1820 for Naples, but various political upheavals, which threatended the rule of King Ferdinand I, were sufficiently under control to allow theatrical activity to continue and for the first performance to take place at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on 3 December 1820.

While "(the opera) was not much liked by the Neapolitans" [2], it "was well received when Rossini revised it for performances in Venice at the Teatro La Fenice in December 1822."[2] In 1823 and 1824, Maometto II was presented in Vienna and in Milan and then in Lisbon in 1826, but after that it dropped out of sight because "a large part of its score (was adapted) to a new French libretto"[2]and staged in Paris on 9 October 1826 as Le siège de Corinthe, the 1820s wars between the Greeks and the Turks then being more topical than those between the Turks and the Venetians of the original.[3]

Performance history

As Maometto II, the opera disappeared and, although rarely performed today, it was revived by the Rossini Festival in Pesaro in 1985.[2] It was given its first performance in the US on 17 September 1988, when it was presented by the San Francisco Opera.[3] No references to a production in the UK exist[2].

As part of the 2012 summer opera festival season, Maometto II will be given its first presentations by the Santa Fe Opera using the newly-published critical edition from the University of Chicago[4][5] The cast features Luca Pisaroni in the title role and rising soprano Leah Crocetto (Grand Prize winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions) as Anna.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 3 December 1820
(Conductor: Nicola Festa)[6]
Maometto II (Mehmed II) bass Filippo Galli
Paolo Erisso, head of the Venetians in Negroponte tenor Andrea Nozzari
Anna, his daughter soprano Isabella Colbran
Calbo, Venetian noble mezzo-soprano or contralto Adelaide Comelli
Condulmiero, Venetian noble tenor Giuseppe Ciccimarra
Selimo, Muslim noble tenor Gaetano Chizzola


Time: 1470
Place: Negroponte, in the Augean[7]

Act 1

Byzantium has just fallen to the Turks, and the troops of Maometto II (Sultan Mehmed II) are laying siege at the Venetian city of Negroponte (Chalkis). Young Calbo pushes Paolo Erisso to go on fighting and defend the city, while Condulmiero wishes to yield. Erisso's daughter, Anna, is to marry Calbo, as it is the wish of her father. She is, however, in a secret relationship with an unknown noble that she met in Corinth. The Muslims break through the defenses, and Erisso and Calbo are made prisoners. Maometto arrives and is recognized by Anna: he is the secret lover of hers. Erisso and Anna are horrified by this sudden revelation. Anna threatens to kill herself unless Maometto releases Erisso and Calbo, and, promising her a life of luxury, he agrees.

Act 2

Maometto declares his love for Anna and offers her the throne, but she refuses. Maometto departs in order to mount another attack on the citadel, but he leaves his imperial seal of authority with her in order to guarantee her safety in his absence. Anna joins Erisso and Calbo, who are in hiding. Erisso initially spurns his daughter for consorting with the enemy, but she swears that she will never marry him, and gives Erisso Maometto's seal, which will enable him and Calbo to come out of hiding. Erisso marries Calbo and Anna before the tomb of her mother, and the two men depart for the combat against Maometto. Before long, Anna is told that Maometto has been defeated by Erisso and has fled, but that her life is now in danger, since he will be seeking revenge. She is confronted by Maometto and his men and, after revealing that she gave his seal to her father and that she has married Calbo, she stabs herself and dies on her mother's tomb.


Year Cast
(Maometto, Anna,
Calbo, Erisso)
Opera House and Orchestra
1983 Samuel Ramey,
June Anderson,
Margherita Zimmermann,
Ernesto Palacio
Claudio Scimone,
Philharmonia Orchestra and Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Audio CD: Phillips
Cat: 475 509-2
1985 Samuel Ramey,
Cecilia Gasdia,
Lucia Valentini-Terrani,
Chris Merritt
Claudio Scimone,
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and European Festival Chorus
(Video recording of a performance at the Pesaro Rossini Festival)
DVD: Premiere Opera
Cat: 5187
2005 Lorenzo Regazzo,
Carmen Giannattasio,
Maxim Mironov,
Annarita Gemmabella
Claudio Scimone,
Orchestra and chorus of the Teatro La Fenice
(Video recording of a performance at the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia of the version performed in that theatre in 1822, February).
DVD: Dynamic
Cat: DV 33492
2008 Michele Pertusi,
Marina Rebeka,
Daniela Barcellona,
Francesco Meli
Gustav Kuhn,
Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento and Prague Chamber Chorus
(Recording of a performance in the Adriatic Arena, Pesaro, August)
Audio CD: Celestial Audio
Cat: CA 831


  1. ^ Osborne, p. 101
  2. ^ a b c d e Osborne, p. 102
  3. ^ a b Holden p. 787
  4. ^ Brauner, Patricia, Philip Gossett, and Claudio Scimone, introduction to the critical edition of the score.
  5. ^ 2012 season announcement on Accessed 10 May 2011
  6. ^ Premiere cast from Casaglia (2005)
  7. ^ Osborne, pp. 100-101
  8. ^ Recordings of Maometto II on
Cited sources

External links

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