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Francesca Caccini (1587-1641)

Born September 18, 1587
Florence, Italy
Died 1640
Florence, Italy
Nationality Italian
Era Pre-Baroque

Francesca Caccini was surrounded by musicians her whole life. Her father was composer Giulio Caccini, and her mother and sisters were all trained singers. She received lessons in singing, guitar, harp, and keyboard playing from a young age, as well as a literary education, studying both Latin and Italian poetry. It is believed that she performed in some of the first operas, such as Jacopo Peri’s L’Euridice. Her first independent job was for Queen Maria de Medici of France; she eventually worked her way up through the ranks, becoming the highest-paid musician at the Medici court in the 1620s. She is believed to be the first woman to write an opera. Some of her pieces were published during her lifetime, such as Il primo libro delle musiche and La liberazione di Ruggiero. Caccini continued to work (on and off) for the Medici family for many years, before permanently leaving their service in 1641.

See Also:
Anna Beer. Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music. London: Oneworld Publications, 2016.

Suzanne Cusick. Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court: Music and the Circulation of Power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Suzanne Cusick. “‘Thinking from Women’s Lives’: Francesca Caccini after 1627.” Musical Quarterly 77, no. 3 (October 1993): 484-507.