Francesco Cavalli

Baroque composer. Born 14 February 1602. Died 14 January 1676
Francesco Cavalli
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1602-02-14
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Francesco Cavalli

Francesco Cavalli Biography (BBC)

Born Francesco Caletti in 1602, Francesco Cavalli later changed his name as a mark of gratitude to Federico Cavalli, governor of his home-town of Crema, whose support had enabled him to join the choir of the Basilica of St Mark’s as a boy soprano. There he sang under the direction of Monteverdi, with whom he may also have studied. At the age of 18 he was appointed organist to the Venetian church of SS Giovanni e Paolo, a post which he combined with his continuing duties at St Mark’s, as well with other freelance activities in the city as both singer and organist.

In 1630 his marriage to a wealthy widow eased his financial situation sufficiently for him to relinquish his organist job, and to enter the world of opera, then in its precarious infancy as an entertainment for a fee paying public rather than private patrons. His first opera, Le nozze de Teti e di Peleo, appeared in 1639, just predating Monteverdi’s late operas.

The next two decades, which witnessed the spread of opera throughout Italy and beyond, brought further examples at the rate of more than one a year, among which Egisto, Giasone, Xerse and Erismena were to prove widely popular and influential. In 1660 he was invited to France to compose an opera for the lavish celebrations marking the marriage of Louis XIV to Infanta Maria Theresia of Spain; the result, Ercole amante, was not a great success with the French, and soon after its long delayed premiere in 1662, Cavalli was back in Venice, vowing never to write for the theatre again. In fact he composed six more operas, although only four of them made it to the stage.

Throughout these years he had maintained his connection with St Mark’s. Just before his operatic debut he had been appointed second organist, and in 1665 he was promoted to first organist. Finally, in 1668 he succeeded Rovetta as maestro di cappella, a post he held until his death, a wealthy and respected man, eight years later.

Cavalli was the dominant figure in the emerging operatic genre in the quarter-century following Monteverdi’s death, his skills combining sound dramatic instincts with a knack for memorable melody. As a church composer he was also highly active, however; his sacred works – mostly published in two major collections, the Musiche sacre of 1656 and the Vesperi of 1675 – reflect the wide range of styles associated with St Mark’s, from motets for solo voices and instruments to festive music on the grandest scale.

Profile © Lindsay Kemp


Francesco Cavalli Performances & Interviews


Featured Works


Francesco Cavalli Tracks

Francesco Cavalli
Hipermestra Act 2
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Hipermestra Act 2

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Francesco Cavalli
Misero, cosi va
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Misero, cosi va
Francesco Cavalli
Ombra Mai Fu (Xerxe)
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Ombra Mai Fu (Xerxe)
Francesco Cavalli
Vespro delle domeniche: Dixit Dominus
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Vespro delle domeniche: Dixit Dominus
Francesco Cavalli
Lauda Jerusalem (psalm 147, 'How good it is to sing praises to our God')
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Lauda Jerusalem (psalm 147, 'How good it is to sing praises to our God')
Francesco Cavalli
Dixit Dominus a 8
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Dixit Dominus a 8
Francesco Cavalli
La Calisto (Act 1, Sc 14: Ballo de orsi; Ciacona)
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La Calisto (Act 1, Sc 14: Ballo de orsi; Ciacona)
Francesco Cavalli
Ercole amante - 'E vuol dunque Ciprigna
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Ercole amante - 'E vuol dunque Ciprigna
Francesco Cavalli
Che città (L'Ormindo)
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Che città (L'Ormindo)
Francesco Cavalli
Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen)
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Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen)
Francesco Cavalli
magnificat
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magnificat
Francesco Cavalli
La Calisto Acts II and III
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La Calisto Acts II and III

La Calisto Acts II and III

Orchestra
Seville Baroque
Conductor
Francesco Cavalli
La Calisto Prologue & Act I
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La Calisto Prologue & Act I

La Calisto Prologue & Act I

Orchestra
Seville Baroque
Conductor
Francesco Cavalli
Ballet Royal de la Nuit (Grand Ballet, Coro dei Pianeti "Virtù che soffre")
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Ballet Royal de la Nuit (Grand Ballet, Coro dei Pianeti "Virtù che soffre")
Francesco Cavalli
Il Giasone: Act I (extract)
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Il Giasone: Act I (extract)
Francesco Cavalli
La Rosinda, Act 3: "Vieni, vieni in questo seno"
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La Rosinda, Act 3: "Vieni, vieni in questo seno"
Francesco Cavalli
Che pensi, mio core? (La virtu de' strali d'Amore)
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Che pensi, mio core? (La virtu de' strali d'Amore)
Francesco Cavalli
Ombra mai fu (Xerse)
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Ombra mai fu (Xerse)
Francesco Cavalli
Ombra mai fu from 'Xerse' (1654)
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Ombra mai fu from 'Xerse' (1654)
Francesco Cavalli
Uscitemi dal cor, lacrime amare (L'Erismena)
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Uscitemi dal cor, lacrime amare (L'Erismena)
Francesco Cavalli
Magnificat
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Magnificat
Francesco Cavalli
Kyrie (Grand Venetian Mass for Franco-Spanish Peace)
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Kyrie (Grand Venetian Mass for Franco-Spanish Peace)
Francesco Cavalli
Fanfare
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Fanfare
Anon.
Extract Venus et les Graces - Louis XIV
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Extract Venus et les Graces - Louis XIV
Francesco Cavalli
Plainsong Antiphon and Magnificat
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Plainsong Antiphon and Magnificat
Francesco Cavalli
Dido: 'Rè de' Getuli altero...Il mio marito'
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Dido: 'Rè de' Getuli altero...Il mio marito'
Francesco Cavalli
'Re de' Getuli altero...Il mio marito' (Didone)
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'Re de' Getuli altero...Il mio marito' (Didone)
Francesco Cavalli
Sonata No 15 in D minor
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Sonata No 15 in D minor
Francesco Cavalli
Salve Regina (a 4)
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Salve Regina (a 4)
Francesco Cavalli
Canzon a 3 (Musiche sacre, 1656)
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Canzon a 3 (Musiche sacre, 1656)
Francesco Cavalli
Erismena: Part 2
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Erismena: Part 2
Francesco Cavalli
Erismena: Part 1
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Erismena: Part 1
Francesco Cavalli
Salve regina
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Salve regina
Francesco Cavalli
Hipermestra Act 3
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Hipermestra Act 3
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