Personalities | Francesco Cavalli | Early Baroque | Classical

(Fran-ches’-ko Ka-val’-le) 1602–76
Italian composer

Cavalli was born Caletti but took the name of his first patron. His life was centred on the basilica of St Mark’s, where his teacher, Monteverdi, was maestro di cappella. He became second organist there in 1639, principal organist in 1665, and maestro di cappella in 1668. He was the most gifted and celebrated of Monteverdi’s successors in Venetian opera. His first opera, Le nozze di Teti e Peleo (‘The Marriage of Teti and Peleo’), was staged at the Teatro San Cassiano in 1639. Among later successes were Egisto (1643), Ormindo (1644) and Giasone (1648–49), the last of which was played more than any other of his operas during his lifetime. Between 1660 and 1662 Cavalli worked in Paris, at the invitation of Cardinal Mazarin. Xerse (1654), performed for the wedding of Louis XIV and the Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain, was followed by Ercole amante (‘Hercules in Love’, 1662), which failed disastrously. Both contained splendid danced entrées by Lully.

Recommended Recording:
Calisto, Concerto Vocale (dir) René Jacobs (Harmonia Mundi)

Introduction | Early Baroque | Classical
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