- Marita P. McClymonds
Opera seria in three acts by Gian Francesco de Majo to a libretto by Vittorio Amedeo Cigna-Santi , after Antonio de Solis’s La conquista del Messico; Turin, Teatro Regio, Carnival 1765.
Cortez (tenor) arrives at the Mexican capital with his Spanish troops and Indian mercenaries led by Teutile (alto castrato). Montezuma (soprano castrato) welcomes the visitors, but they inform him that in order to ensure a peaceful relationship he must renounce his ‘false’ gods. When Montezuma refuses, the Spaniards capture the palace and take him into custody. Learning that Montezuma’s nephew has usurped the throne, Cortez releases his prisoner, who is killed by his own people. Cortez uses the wrongful death of Montezuma as an excuse to destroy the temples and priests, claiming Mexico for Spain. But he soon learns that Montezuma’s queen, Guacozinga (soprano), has already set fire to the city to ensure that the treasures Cortez seeks will be destroyed in the flames and ruins....