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RossiniHis Life and Works$
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Richard Osborne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181296.001.0001

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Maometto II (1820) and Le Siège de Corinthe (1826)

Maometto II (1820) and Le Siège de Corinthe (1826)

(p.286) Chapter Thirty-Four Maometto II (1820) and Le Siège de Corinthe (1826)

Richard Osborne

Oxford University Press

Gioachino Rossini wrote Maometto II in collaboration with Cesare della Valle, Duke of Ventignano, a leading figure in Neapolitan literary life whose libretto derives from his own play Anna Erizo. It is a measure of della Valle’s seriousness as a scholar that the events described in the play closely follow the facts of Mehmet II’s conquest and destruction of the Venetian colony of Negroponte in northern Greece in 1470. The names of two of his principal characters, the Venetian commander Paolo Erisso and fellow soldier Alvise Calbo, are in the historical records. What subverts the libretto’s status as a piece of post-revolutionary historical realism is its reliance on a weak and overused plot line. Locations were shuffled, dates changed, history rewritten. Le Siège de Corinthe, the slimmed down, French-language revision of Maometto II with which Rossini made his debut at the Paris Opera in October 1826, ends in a holocaust.

Keywords:   Gioachino Rossini, Maometto II, Cesare della Valle, Duke of Ventignano, Anna Erizo, Mehmet II, Greece

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