Compare Peri and Caccini

The Camerata creative group of Jacopo Corsi (patron), Ottavio Rinuccini (poet), and Jacopo Peri (composer and singer) created Dafne—the first opera—in 1598 in Florence, Italy. Rinuccini and Peri had the opportunity to create something bigger for the wedding festivities for Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV of France in October 1600.

This would turn out to be L’Euridice, the first surviving opera. Based on the myth of Orpheus, it tells the story of the death of the demi-god singer’s wife Euridice on their wedding day, and his journey to the underworld of Hades to try and get her back. Unlike the actual Greek myth, the opera has a lieto fine—a happy ending—and Orpheus returns with Euridice, extolling the powers of music.

Peri seems to have been a slow composer, and another Camerata musician—Giulio Caccini—joined Peri and Rinuccini to write part of the music of the opera, so the first performance of L’Euridice on October 6, 1600 was a co-composed score. Caccini, who was a much faster composer than Peri, and went on to set Rinuccini’s entire text, and published the score of his version of L’Euridice in December of 1600. Peri would publish his setting in February of 1601..

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Then write a short 500-word comparison of the settings by the two composers of Rinuccini’s text. Some questions you might consider are:

Compare Peri’s and Caccini’s conception of this wedding song: how are they similar, and how are they different?How do they differ in instrumentation?How do they differ in form?How do they differ in key and meter?Finally, which one do you like better—and why?

Sample Solution
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