Francesco Cavalli (born Crema, Lombardy, 14 February 1602; died 14 January 1676) was an Italian composer. He lived in the early part of the Baroque music period. His real name was Pietro Francesco Caletti-Bruni, but he is better known as Cavalli, which was the name of his patron, a Venetian nobleman. He is remembered for his operas.
Life[change | change source]
Cavalli was born at Crema, Lombardy. He became a singer at St Mark's in Venice in 1616, then he was organist there, and in 1668 he became maestro di cappella.
He began to write for the theatre in 1639. Soon after that the first public opera house opened in Venice. Cavalli became so famous that he was invited to Paris in 1660 where he performed his opera Xerxes. He visited Paris again in 1662. He died in Venice at the age of 73.
Music and influence[change | change source]
Cavalli lived at the time that opera had just been invented by Jacopo Peri. Claudio Monteverdi composed the first really good operas. Cavalli became the most important Italian writer of operas in the middle of the 17th century. His operas use small orchestras, unlike those of Monteverdi, who was writing for the court in Mantua where there was lots of money for big orchestras. Cavalli had a good sense of drama and he wrote lovely melodies.
He wrote 57 operas, of which 27 survived. He also wrote some church music and some instrumental music.