The life of Francesca Caccini (1587- after 1641) provides another example of a woman fortunate to be born into a family supportive of her musical pursuits. Caccini’s father was an accomplished musician, composer, and educator and gave his daughter every opportunity that she could have hoped for as a young woman period living in Italy in the early Baroque period. Her education and inspiration resulted in her opera La liberzione di Ruggiero, which is largely accepted as the first known opera composed by a woman.
For a significant portion of her life, Caccini was in service at the Medici court as a composer, performer, and educator. In 1614 she was reportedly the court’s highest paid musician. She composed several works for the stage beyond La liberzione di Ruggiero, but they have all been lost to time. Some of her surviving works are solos or duets for voice. After Caccini left her role as court musician in 1641 she disappeared from public record.
Suzanne G. Cusick, musicologist and professor at NYU, recently published her work on the life and music of Francesca Caccini titled, Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court: Music and the Circulation of Power . The book provides the reader a biographical history as well as an accurate account of what the role of a court musician entailed during Caccini’s lifetime.
Below is “Lasciatemi Qui Solo” for soprano and lute: