By: Elena Reyes, FFE, 2017
Florence has been the center of many cultural and historical events. One of those many events was the birth of opera.
The majority of the most famous opera composers in the world are males, and it is rare to hear of a female composer. However, it turns out that even during the early phases of the birth of opera, a female composer was creating, writing, and teaching music. Her name was Francesca Caccini.
Francesca Caccini was one of the daughters of the also composer Giulio Caccini who belonged to a group of musicians called Camerata Fiorentina that sought for a rebirth of the musical traditions and the position of music during the Renaissance. Giulio Caccini was the one responsible for teaching Frrancesca all she knew about music. She was an educated woman and one of the only few.
According to assistant professor of music at New Jersey State University, Rebecca Cypess, Francesca was one of the only female singers and composers that had published work during the Renaissance. She worked at the Medici court and usually performed some of her father’s compositions. Most of her duties, however, involved teaching the people at the court how to sing and how to do music.
Though Caccini worked mostly as a music teacher, she also did multiple compositions from which unfortunately only a few remain.
It is incredible to think that a female during the 17th century was actively involved in the writing and teaching of music and yet her story, her name, and her compositions are not as widely recognized as those of male composers.
Have you ever heard of Francesca Caccini?