Personalities | Stefano Landi | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera

c. 1586–1639, Italian

Stefano Landi, who was born and gained his musical training in Rome, became maestro di cappella to the bishop of Padua in around 1618. The next year, Landi’s La morte d’Orfeo (‘The Death of Orpheus’, 1619) was performed in Rome, where the composer returned in 1620. Four years later, Landi was appointed maestro di cappella at Santa Maria dei Monti, and he joined the papal choir in 1629. Landi’s opera Il Sant’Alessio (‘Saint Alexius’, 1632) was performed at the opening of the opera house in the Barberini palace. Both La morte d’Orfeo and Il Sant’Alessio were innovative and seminal works. The forme, the first secular opera to be performed in Rome, began a tradition for impressive choral scenes and spectacular endings that became characteristic of Roman opera.

Il Sant’Alessio was on an even grander scale than its predecessor, with greater realism and drama and a hero who broke with established practice by typifying, not the mythological figures of earlier Baroque opera, but a real-life human being. In Il Sant’Alessio, Landi anticipated the opera overture with orchestral sinfonias that were performed before the start of each act.

Introduction | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Major Operas | Il Sant’Alessio by Stefano Landi | Early & Middle Baroque
Personalities | Giovanni Legrenzi | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Houses & Companies | The Barberini Family | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera


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