By Gianmarco Segato
The historical Maometto Secondo, or Mehmet II (1432-1481), captured Constantinople in 1453, thus ending the Byzantine Empire. Rossini set his opera in 1470, the year the Venetian colony of Negroponte off the coast of Greece—a trade gateway to the Eastern Mediterranean—was besieged by the Turks. In order to further his plans to invade Western Europe and conquer the Holy Roman Empire, Maometto needed to take Negroponte. Historically, Mehmet was an enlightened ruler, enforcing religious tolerance and freedom in his conquered territories.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the life of an opera singer as superstar bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni takes us backstage and beyond at the Maometto II dress rehearsal in his Instagram #COCTakeover! See Maometto II on stage with Luca in the title role at the Four Seasons Centre from April 29 to May 14, 2016. Get your tickets today at coc.ca/tickets
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The greatest opera? Surely it is one of the two or three most popular with audiences and critics alike. Although it notoriously created outrage at its first performance on March 3, 1875 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, it nevertheless ran for 45 performances that first year. Bizet’s untimely death at the age of 36 on June 3, 1877 cannot therefore be attributed to heartbreak over the opera’s alleged failure. From at least its second performance onward it has gone from success to success, eliciting praise from such luminaries as Wagner and Brahms.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001