Maometto II - Composition History

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. In accepting the commission from the San Carlo in May 1820, it became clear when Rossini began composing the opera, that it "would be the most ambitious of all (his) works for the Italian stage". As it turned out, "its composition process was long and laborious, the circumstances of its making unexpectedly fraught".

From early July 1820, various political upheavals threatened the rule of King Ferdinand I and these both prevented theatrical productions and extended the composition process. During this time, Rossini "modified della Valle’s libretto, accentuating the human aspect of the tragedy, playing down the political and nationalistic elements".

By mid-1821, the political situation was sufficiently under control to allow theatrical activity to continue and, while the production of Maometto II missed many deadlines, its first performance took place at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on 3 December 1820. However, the opera “was not much liked by the Neapolitans" since the composer was “moving in a direction the Naples audience was reluctant to follow”.

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