Maometto secondo, 2013
Maometto secondo Darren Jeffery
Paolo Erisso Paul Nilon
Anna Siân Davies
Calbo Caitlin Hulcup
Selimo Richard Dowling
Condulmiero Christopher Diffey
Conductor David Parry
Director Edward Dick
Designer Robert Innes Hopkins
Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus
The Venetian outpost of Negroponte has been besieged by Maometto’s army for two months. The city faces disease and hunger and the Governor, Erisso, holds a council of war. Condulmiero counsels surrender but Calbo interrupts him and inspires the Venetians to keep fighting, whatever the outcome. Maometto’s final assault is threatened for the following day.
Erisso’s daughter Anna is distraught about her father’s beleaguered situation. Erisso urges her to marry Calbo, someone who can protect her. He wants her to go the church where her mother’s ashes are interred and to marry Calbo immediately. Neither Erisso nor Calbo can understand Anna’s reluctance until she admits that she is in love with a man called Uberto, whom she met in Corinth when her father was away in Venice raising his army. Erisso tells her that she must have been taken in by an imposter as Uberto was with him in Venice. He gives his daughter a knife so that she can defend herself. A cannon shot interrupts them and the men go off to fight.
Anna and the women take refuge. They discover that a traitor has opened the city gates and pray for God’s mercy. Erisso and Calbo return to announce that the fight is lost – Maometto’s forces are superior and he is only waiting till daybreak before breaching the city walls. Erisso tells his men to retreat to the citadel, where they will mount a final act of resistance. He insists that the women stay behind, in the hopes that they will be spared. Anna begs to join the defending men but is refused.
The Muslim soldiers invade and Maometto displays an insider’s knowledge of the city, based on having been sent to Negroponte as a spy when he was a young man. Erisso and Calbo have been captured and Maometto, recognising Erisso, asks him if he was once Governor of Corinth and whether he has a daughter. He offers him mercy if he will persuade his men to surrender the citadel. Erisso and Calbo refuse and Maometto orders them to be tortured.
When the women are discovered, Maometto and Anna recognise one another. He is Uberto, her lover, now revealed as the enemy. Anna threatens to kill herself if Maometto will not release her father and Calbo, whom she refers to as her brother. Maometto relents but Erisso rejects Anna in shame.
Maometto begs Anna to become his wife and queen. She rejects him but he interprets her sorrow as a sign of love. The sound of fighting interrupts them – the Venetians have broken out of the citadel and are mounting a desperate last defence. Maometto leaves his imperial seal with Anna to guarantee her safety; with this authority, his soldiers will obey her commands. Maometto rallies his soldiers under the Muslim flag.
Erisso and Calbo are hiding near the tomb of Erisso’s wife. He rails against Anna’s betrayal but Calbo insists that she is innocent and that she did not know that Uberto was really Maometto. Anna finds them and Erisso makes her swear on her mother’s tomb that she is faithful. To further prove this, she gives him Maometto’s seal and begs her father to marry her to Calbo.
Against all the odds, Erisso and Calbo manage to turn the tide and defeat the invaders. The Muslim soldiers are now calling for Anna’s death, as she has inspired this last-minute surge of strength from the Venetians. When Maometto returns, Anna publicly acknowledges Calbo as her husband before stabbing herself and falling dead beside the tomb of her mother.