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Monteverdi Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi was born in Cremona Italy His actual birth date is unknown but church records show that he was baptized on May 15567 He played a major role in the development and perfectoin of early baroque music He composed eight books of mardigals the first five of which seperated him from other composers of the time In 1607 he produced his first work in the new genre of opera LOrfeo In 1613 he was appointed maestro di cappella at St Marks in Venice He remained in Venice for the rest of his life writing music in all genres including his final opera Lincoronazione di Poppea 1642 Monteverdis first musical drama LOrfeo surpassed all pervious attempts at musical drama It was possibly the most important development in the history of opera He established it as a serious form of musical and dramatic expression by utilising a rich palette of vocal and instrumental resources Hanning 181 This opera was modeled after Peris Euridice and given this background and Monteverdis gift for intellegent barrowing the form and manner of this new opera were almost predictable Arnold 106 Despite the apparent similarities this opera set itself apart from the older operas Monteverdis score was written for forty instruments and different instruments were specified for the different parts- a first of his time Estrella The orchesta considerably enlarged and varied and including an elaborate strings section Harnoncourt 128 was used not merely as an accompaniment for the singers but also to establish the moods of the various scenes Monteverdi added many solos duets and small ensembles to provide contrast to the work In addition to this the music overall is more lyrical his recitative achieves more continuity and a longer line through careful tonal organization Hanning 181 The public received LOrfeo enthusiastically and with his next opera Arianna 1608 Monteverdis reputation as an opera composer was firmly established When Monteverdi became music director
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