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SPONTINI: Fernand Cortez ou la Conquête du Mexique - Trailer [2019 - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino]

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AAfter his Neapolitan training, Gaspare Spontini settled in Paris for a few years, where he was
nominated “compositeur particulier de la chambre” of Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife. It was
indeed Napoleon who commissioned Spontini to write the opera Fernand Cortez, ou La conquête
du Mexique in 1808 and attended the premiere on 28 November 1809.
The choice of this subject is linked to the initial phase of the war against Spain, and departs not only from the actual historic events of 1519 but also from the 18th-century works on the same subject.

DISCOVER: https://naxos.lnk.to/37868ID

In the comparison between Spaniards and Mexicans, virtue, valour, tolerance and enlightenment are all qualities of the invaders. The strongly idealised figure of Cortez, presented as a brave, wise and merciful general, predestined to victory, was to be an image of Napoleon. His fight against Spanish “obscurantism” was Cortez’s fight against the cruelty, superstition and dark power intrigues of the Aztec (Mexican) sacerdotal class.

Cortez frees the Mexicans from their “evil god”, and only the High Priest refuses his clemency. Like in a pièce à sauvetage, at the last moment Montezuma’s niece, Amazily, who had offered her life in exchange of that of her beloved Cortez’s brother Alvar, is rescued (from being sacrificed by the High Priest to appease the gods’ wrath for betraying the Mexican cause). The Mexican chief Télasco, Amazily’s brother, promotes the cessation of hostilities: the marriage between Cortez and Amazily sanctions the peace between two peoples.

In Spain, the French troops met a very different fate than did Cortez’s men in the happy ending of Spontini’s opera, and it has been suggested that the disastrous outcome of the Spanish campaign was responsible for the limited number of performances of Fernand Cortez that took place in Paris between the end of 1809 and January 1812. Later on Spontini made a series of re-elaborations to his work, moving entire sections from one act to the other. The success of this opera is especially linked to its second version, staged in Paris in 1817.

This production is a recording of the first performance in modern times of the original 1809 version. It was recorded in October 2019, exactly 500 years after Cortez’s first arrival in Mexico. Fernand Cortez far transcends the limits of an occasional celebrative work. To quote conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud: “Spontini is between two worlds, the Ancien Régime and the French tragédie lyrique … But he invented a new style which would have been greatly admired by Wagner and Berlioz which opens the door to the romantic opera, which comes after."

Director Cecilia Ligorio drew inspiration from a murals painted by Orozco inside a building in Mexico city, where Cortez is depicted in shiny, silver armour, and Malinche – the historical figure who inspired the character of Amazily – wears no clothes and is painted with the natural, reddish colour of Mother Earth.

World Premiere Video recording
Sung in French
Filmed in 4K

Subtitles in Italian, English, French, German, Japanese and Korean
Extra content : Interviews with Conductor and Director subtitled in all languages

GASPARE SPONTINI (1774 – 1851)
FERNAND CORTEZ ou la Conquête du Mexique
Tragédie Lyrique en trois Actes
Libretto by
Étienne De Jouy et Joseph-Alphonse d’Esménard
Conductor: Jean-Luc Tingaud
Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Chorus master: Lorenzo Fratini

Stage Director: Cecilia Ligorio
Set Designers: Alessia Colosso, Massimo Checchetto

Costume Designer: Vera Pierantoni Giua
Choreographer: Alessio Maria Romano
Compagnia Nuovo BallettO di ToscanA

Light Designer: Maria Domènech Gimenez
Venue: Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Fernand Cortez: Dario Schmunck
Télasco: Luca Lombardo
Alvar: David Ferri Durà
Le Grand Prêtre des Mexicains: André Courville
Moralez: Gianluca Margheri
Un Officier Espagnol: Lisandro Guinis
Deux Prisonniers Espagnols: Davide Ciarrocchi, Nicolò Ayroldi
Un Officier Mexicain: Leonardo Melani
Un Marin: Davide Siega
Amazily: Alexia Voulgaridou
Deux Femmes de la Suite d’Amazily: Silvia Capra, Delia Palmieri

Produced by DYNAMIC SRL Italy
Worldwide distribution: NAXOS www.naxos.com
Available on DVD, BLURAY.
Audio recording physical and digital: CD: 7868 (3 CDs)
DVD: 37868 (2DVDs)
BLURAY: 57868 (1 Blu-ray)

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