In 1809 Fernand Cortez ou La conquête de Mexique was staged. The libretto had been written by Victor-Joseph Etienne de Jouy and Joseph-Alphonse d’Esménard and set to music by Gaspare Spontini. The theme had been suggested by Napoleon with a clearly political intention. The character of the conqueror, transformed with strategic talent, aimed at praising the heroic figure of the Emperor from Corse, who was about to leave for the military campaign in Spain. The French librettists could find their inspiration in the 18th century dramaturgy, which had placed much emphasis on the myth of Hernán Cortés so as to reshape it according different ideological perspectives, and prepared a text which was highly functional to the political views they had to support. After eleven years the musical score, revised in 1817, was heard for the first time in Italy at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. Spontini’s opera was accepted for the Bourbon stage: quite shrewdly, an experienced librettist such as Giovanni Schmidt and a musician such as Gioachino Rossini were entrusted with the translation and the musical "adaptations".
Keywords: Gaspare Spontini, Fernand Cortez, Naples