Francesca Caccini: Italian of the Week

La-Liberazione-di-RuggieroMusical pioneer Francesca Caccini was born on September 18, 1587, in Florence, Italy. She grew up in a home that was always filled with music – her father was a renowned composer and her mother was a singer. Her education and training included learning to sing, play the piano, guitar and harp, as well as learning to write Italian and Latin. It is believed that Francesca began to perform in her early teens, singing in operas and librettos. In 1607, she joined her father and became employed as a performer for the Medici family.

Orazio_Gentileschi_-_Il_suonatore_di_liuto_(National_Gallery_of_Art).jpgAs a court musician, Francesca performed and taught others her craft. She published books on teaching students music and singing, all which received high acclaim. She joined the Medici court in France and continued to compose music, sing and teach. During her time at court, she composed the opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (1625). It is believed that Francesca was one of the first women to have composed an opera. By 1633, she returned to the Medici court in Italy, and received the nickname “La Cecchina” or “The Songbird.” While it is unknown when Francesca died, documents suggest it was around 1645.

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, University of Chicago, Music Academy

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