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Francesco Cavalli

The life and music of unsung baroque hero Francesco Cavalli.

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of unsung baroque hero Francesco Cavalli, best known for composing more than 40 operas. He begins by looking at Cavalli's early origins and evolving career in Venice. Then, Donald Macleod turns to the publications of Cavalli's sacred music, revealing his rise through the hierachy of St Mark's, Venice, and his relationship with the distinguished Monteverdi as well as his period as a prolific and trendsetting composer of opera, popularising the emerging combination of aria and recitative, as well as the lament. Macleod reveals how the composer's ill-fated visit to France in 1660 – and the invitation to compose an opera for the marriage of Louis XIV – led to his operatic career's subsequent demise.

Finally, Donald Macleod explores Cavalli's last sacred work, the requiem he composed for his own funeral, and his highly detailed will, which not only provided precise requirements for his annual memorial service, but also for the distribution of his lucrative estate.

Release date:


54 minutes


Role Contributor
Composer Francesco Cavalli