Personalities | Francesco Cavalli | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera

1602–76, Italian

Francesco Cavalli was in the right place at the right time when the first opera house, the Teatro San Cassiano, opened in Venice in 1637. The following year, Cavalli, with Orazio Persiani (fl. 1640) as librettist, produced La nozze di Teti e di Peleo (‘The Wedding of Teti and Peleo’, 1638) for the San Cassiano. In the next 10 years, Cavalli composed 10 more operas, including Egisto (1643). He also became manager of the San Cassiano, together with the librettist Giovanni Faustini (1615–51). Together, they firmly established the stile rappresentazione. In 1650, the San Cassiano closed due to financial difficulties, but it reopened in 1658. Cavalli returned as musical director, contracted to write one opera a year. He was banned from working for any other Venetian opera house but was permitted to accept work from outside Venice. In 1662, he wrote Ercole amante (‘Hercules in Love’) for the marriage of King Louis XIV of France, but it was so badly received that Cavalli was reluctant to write any more operas. Eventually, however, he relented and wrote six more; two of the works were never staged but three are still performed today.

Sounds Familiar

‘Dalle Gelose Mie’ (‘By My Jealousy’)
This soprano aria from Cavalli’s La Calisto is set on the plains of Erymanthus in the Peloponnese, Greece, where Giunone – the Roman goddess Juno – sings of her jealousy and fury at the love affair that is taking place between her unfaithful husband, the god Jupiter and the beautiful nymph Calisto.

Introduction | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Major Operas | Egisto by Francesco Cavalli | Early & Middle Baroque
Personalities | Antonio Cesti | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Houses & Companies | The Teatro San Cassiano, Venice | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera


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