Personalities | Antonio Cesti | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera

1623–69, Italian

Musically speaking, Florentine composer Antonio Cesti led a double life. He wrote operas for the Venetian opera houses but also provided music for the courts at Innsbruck and Vienna. Either way, he was involved in basically secular entertainment, despite the fact that he was in holy orders. At age 14, Cesti had joined the Minorite friars, but his roving eye, which ill-suited him for the religious life, was encouraged by his contacts with Venice and the glamorous ducal courts of Austria. A series of scandals and indiscretions led him to resign from the Church in 1659, but earlier he had written Orontea (1649) and Cesare amante (‘Caesar in Love’, 1651) for Venetian audiences. In 1652, Cesti was appointed Kappellmeister to the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Karl and produced several operas, including the most successful, La Dori (‘The Faithful Slave’, 1657). From there, Cesti moved to imperial Vienna, where his most famous opera, Il pomo d’oro (‘The Golden Apple’), was staged in 1668. Another opera, Genserico (1669), is also sometimes attributed to Cesti.

Sounds Familiar

Melodies from the Opera – the Overture
The Florentine composer Antonio Cesti (1623–69) introduced the idea of putting melodies in an opera into its overture, as a kind of ‘trailer’ to the music that was to come and to set the mood. He first did this in his famous Il pomo d’oro (‘The Golden Apple’, 1668).

Introduction | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Major Operas | Il pomo d’oro by Antonio Cesti | Early & Middle Baroque
Personalities | Marc-Antoine Charpentier | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.