Personalities | Raniero de’ Calzabigi | Classical Era | Opera

1714–95, Italian

Calzabigi was best known for three libretti for GluckOrfeo ed Euridice, Alceste and Paride ed Elena, the last taking its eponymous characters, Paris and Helen, from the ancient Greek story of the Trojan War. In these libretti, Calzabigi moved away from the artificiality and limited conventions of opera seria, preferring simplicity and realistic drama. Calzabigi avoided stereotyping his characters. Rather, he drew them as real-life human beings and, although he gave them poetic words to sing, he made sure they followed natural speech patterns. In complete contrast to the intensive business of writing opera libretti, Calzabigi had his scallywag side. While in Paris, he and his brother opened a lottery and took as a partner the adventurer and infamous lover Giacomo Casanova (1725–98). Although they enjoyed the protection of Mme de Pompadour, King Louis XV’s powerful mistress, the partners were eventually expelled and their lottery collapsed.

Introduction | Classical Era | Opera
Personalities | Katharina Cavalieri | Classical Era | 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.