Jacopo Peri

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Peri, Jacopo


(nickname Il Zazzerino, “the long-haired”). Born Aug. 20, 1561, in Rome; died Aug. 12, 1633, in Florence. Italian singer and composer. One of opera’s founders.

Peri was a member of the Florentine Camerata. In 1592 he, together with J. Corsi, composed the music for the first opera, Dafne, for which the poet O. Rinuccini wrote the libretto. It was first performed in 1597–98 in Florence. None of the music composed by Peri has survived. His opera Euridice (1600) is the most brilliant of the extant early operas; Peri himself sang the part of Orpheus in the first performances.


Rolland, R. Opera v XVII v. v Italii, Germanii, Anglii. Moscow, 1931. (Translated from French.)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This includes more than 650 items from 1600 to 1830, including the first opera in Europe, Jacopo Peri and Ottavio Rinuccini's Dafne, published in Florence in 1600.
Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence.
Only a few fragments of the music, by Jacopo Peri and Jacopo Corsi, have been preserved.
These include works by Jacopo Peri, Marco da Gagliano, and Francesca Caccini, composers who exercised remarkable influence on the development of early seventeenth-century opera, a genre still at its inception.
Over half of the chapters concerned with the court musicians (276 pages) deal with just seven figures (Alessandro Striggio, Giulio Caccini, Jacopo Peri, Vittoria Archilei, Francesca Caccini, Giovanni Maria Pagliardi, Giuseppe Maria Orlandini); 47 of the 62 pages given over to 'Men of Letters, Court Gentlemen, etc.' consist of an updated article on Francesco Rasi already available in German.
The earliest operas, beginning in 1597 with Ottavio Rinuccini's Dafne, set to music by Jacopo Peri, were court entertainments, and as a commemoration the words were printed in a small book, or "libretto." In the 1630s Venetian opera became a public spectacle, and audiences used printed librettos to follow the drama.
What may with some justification claim to be the first opera per se was Dafne, by Jacopo Peri, performed in Florence in 1598.
The first extant opera, by Jacopo Peri, was based on it, as were many others, including those by Monteverdi and Haydn; the most famous is Gluck 's Orpheus and Eurydice (1762).
The first three essays are devoted to the pioneering opera composer Jacopo Peri, while his contemporary, Giulio Caccini, is treated in a later chapter.