Francesco Cavalli

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Francesco Cavalli (This is traditionally said to be a portrait of the composer, while it is the portrait of his first patron, the Venetian nobleman Federico Cavalli - the original painting is now in the Crema town hall).)

Francesco Cavalli (born Pietro Francesco Caletti-Bruni 14 February 1602 – 14 January 1676) was an Italian composer of the early Baroque period. He was known as Cavalli, the name of his patron, venetian nobleman Federico Cavalli.

Life[edit]

Cavalli was born at Crema, Lombardy. He became a singer (soprano) at St Mark's Basilica in Venice in 1616, where he had the opportunity to work under the tutorship of Claudio Monteverdi. He became second organist in 1639, first organist in 1665, and in 1668 maestro di cappella. He is chiefly remembered for his operas. He began to write for the stage in 1639 (Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo) soon after the first public opera house opened in Venice, the Teatro San Cassiano. He established so great a reputation that he was summoned to Paris from 1660 (he revived his opera Xerse) until 1662, producing his Ercole amante. He died in Venice at the age of 73.

Music and influence[edit]

Cavalli was the most influential composer in the rising genre of public opera in mid-17th-century Venice. Unlike Monteverdi's early operas, scored for the extravagant court orchestra of Mantua, Cavalli's operas make use of a small orchestra of strings and basso continuo to meet the limitations of public opera houses.

Cavalli introduced melodious arias into his music and popular types into his libretti. His operas have a remarkably strong sense of dramatic effect as well as a great musical facility, and a grotesque humour which was characteristic of Italian grand opera down to the death of Alessandro Scarlatti. Cavalli's operas provide the only example of a continuous musical development of a single composer in a single genre from the early to the late 17th century in Venice — only a few operas by others (e.g., Monteverdi and Antonio Cesti) survive. The development is particularly interesting to scholars because opera was still quite a new medium when Cavalli began working, and had matured into a popular public spectacle by the end of his career.

Cavalli wrote forty-one operas, twenty-seven of which are still extant, being preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Library of St Mark) in Venice. Copies of some of the operas also exist in other locations. In addition, two last operas (Coriolano and Masenzio), which are clearly attributed to him, are lost, as well as twelve other operas that have been attributed to him, though the music is lost and attribution impossible to prove.

In addition to operas, Cavalli wrote settings of the Magnificat in the grand Venetian polychoral style, settings of the Marian antiphons, other sacred music in a more conservative manner – notably a Requiem Mass in eight parts (SSAATTBB), probably intended for his own funeral – and some instrumental music.[1]

Performance history[edit]

Title Libretto Première date Place, theatre Notes
Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo Orazio Persiani 24 January 1639 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne Giovanni Francesco Busenello 1640 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
La Didone Giovanni Francesco Busenello 1641 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
L'amore innamorato Giovanni Battista Fusconi 1 January 1642 Venice, Teatro San Moisè
Narciso et Ecco immortalati Orazio Persiani 30 January 1642 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo lost
La virtù dei strali d'Amore Giovanni Faustini 1642 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
L'Egisto Giovanni Faustini autumn 1643 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
La Deidamia Scipione Herrico 5 January 1644 Venice, Teatro Novissimo lost
L'Ormindo Giovanni Faustini 1644 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
Il Romolo e 'l Remo Giulio Strozzi 1645 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo lost
La Doriclea Giovanni Faustini 1645 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
Il Titone Giovanni Faustini 1645 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano lost
La prosperità infelice di Giulio Cesare dittatore Giovanni Francesco Busenello 1646 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo lost
La Torilda Pietro Paolo Bissari 1648 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo or Teatro San Cassiano lost
Il Giasone Giacinto Andrea Cicognini 5 January 1649 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
L'Euripo Giovanni Faustini 1649 Venice, Teatro San Moise lost
L'Orimonte Nicolò Minato 23 February 1650 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano  
La Bradamante Pietro Paolo Bissari 1650 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo lost
L'Armidoro Bortolo Castoreo 20 January 1651 Venice, Teatro Sant 'Apollinare lost
L'Oristeo Giovanni Faustini 9 February 1651 Venice, Teatro Sant'Apollinare  
La Rosinda Giovanni Faustini 1651 Venice, Teatro Sant'Apollinare also known as Le magie amorose
La Calisto Giovanni Faustini 28 November 1651 Venice, Teatro Sant'Apollinare  
L'Eritrea Giovanni Faustini 17 January 1652 Venice, Teatro Sant'Apollinare  
La Veremonda, l'amazzone di Aragona Giacinto Andrea Cicognini and Giulio Strozzi 21 December 1652 Naples, Nuovo Teatro del Palazzo Reale also known as Il Delio
L'Orione Francesco Melosio June 1653 Milan, Teatro Real  
Il Xerse Nicolò Minato 12 January 1654 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo  
Il Ciro Giulio Cesare Sorrentino 30 January 1654 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo in collaboration with Andrea Mattioli
L'Erismena Aurelio Aureli 30 December 1655 Venice, Teatro Sant'Apollinare  
Statira principessa di Persia Giovanni Francesco Busenello 18 January 1656 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo  
L'Artemisia Nicolò Minato 10 January 1657 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo  
L'Hipermestra Giovanni Andrea Moniglia 12 June 1658 Florence, Teatro degli Immobili  
L'Antioco Nicolò Minato 12 January 1659 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano lost
Il rapimento d'Helena Giovanni Faustini and Nicolò Minato 26 December 1659 Venice, Teatro San Cassiano also known as Elena
La pazzia in trono, ossia il Caligola delirante Domenico Gisberti 1660 Venice, Teatro Sant'Apollinare lost
Ercole amante Francesco Buti 7 February 1662 Paris, at the Salles des Machines in the Tuileries Palace Ballet music by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Scipione affricano Nicolò Minato 9 February 1664 Venice, Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo  
Muzio Scevola Giovanni Faustini and Nicolò Minato 26 January 1665 Venice, Teatro San Samuele  
Pompeo Magno Nicolò Minato 20 February 1666 Venice, Teatro San Salvatore  
Eliogabalo Aurelio Aureli composed 1667, premiered 2004 Venice, Teatro San Salvatore It was never staged and was replaced by another opera of the same name by Giovanni Antonio Boretti.[2]
Coriolano Cristoforo Ivanovich 27 May 1669 Piacenza, Teatro Ducale lost
Masenzio Giacomo Francesco Bussani composed 1673 unperformed and lost

Modern performances[edit]

Cavalli's music was revived in the twentieth century. The Glyndebourne production of La Calisto is an example.[3] More recently, Hipermestra was performed at Glyndebourne in 2017.[4] The discography is extensive and Cavalli has featured in BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week series.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Composer of the Week". Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Ellen Rosand (ed), Readying Cavalli's Operas for the Stage: Manuscript, Edition, Production, Farnham/Burlington, Ashgate, 2013, p. 64, ISBN 9781409412182.
  3. ^ Ross, Alex, "Unsung: Rediscovering the Operas of Francesco Cavalli." The New Yorker, May 25, 2009, pp. 84–85.
  4. ^ "Hipermestra review – Cavalli comes in from the cold". Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2017.

Further reading

External links[edit]