Francesca Caccini

Francesca Caccini

Birth
Florence, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Toscana, Italy
Death c.1640 (aged 52–53)
Florence, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Toscana, Italy
Burial Florence, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Toscana, Italy
Plot Caccini Family Vault
Memorial ID 21521509 · View Source
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Composer, Singer, Instrumentalist. Nicknamed "The Songbird", she was one of the most famous and versatile musicians of the the 17th Century. Her comedy "La liberazione di Ruggiero" (1625) was the first opera written by a woman and the first to be performed outside of Italy. The youngest daughter of singer-composer Giulio Caccini, she was born in Florence and sang at the Medici Court as a child, along with her sister Settimia. She received an excellent musical education and learned to play the lute, guitar, harp, and several keyboard instruments. But it was her soprano voice that quickly made her the star of the family's vocal group, "Il Concerto Caccini". After her 1605 Paris debut King Henri IV called her "the greatest singer in France" and offered her a position at his court, which Duke Ferdinand of Florence forced her to decline. She was headstrong, however, and Ferdinand induced her to remain in his service with annual salary increases. By the mid-1610s she was the highest-paid vocalist in Italy, earning more than her famous father ever did. Throughout her singing career Caccini was also active as a composer, though she did not begin to publish her music until 1618. "La liberazione di Ruggiero" was written to celebrate a visit from Poland's Prince Sigismund, who liked it enough to have it staged again in Warsaw in 1628, a pioneering event. She is known to have produced four subsequent operas, but none survive. Caccini was married at least twice, to singer Giovanni Battista Signorini (1607 to 1626) and nobleman Tomaso Raffaelli (1627 to 1630); both left her a widow. It is believed that after 1630 she married a politician and ran a singing school in Florence until she retired from the Medici court in 1637. Her death date is obscure but her burial place is well documented. Most of her other extant works are found in "Il primo libro delle musiche" (1618), a printed collection of 36 solo songs and duets. Clearly intended for herself to sing, they are firmly in the new Baroque style pioneered by her father and rather adventurous in harmony. Today's Early Music performers are still challenged by the technique required to sing them well. Since the 1980s "La liberazione di Ruggiero" has been successfully revived in Europe and the United States, and has been recorded in its entirety. Historians now rank Caccini as one of the three greatest female composers before the 19th Century, along with Hildegard von Bingen and Barbara Strozzi.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 12 Sep 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21521509
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Francesca Caccini (18 Sep 1587–c.1640), Find A Grave Memorial no. 21521509, citing Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, Florence, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Toscana, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .