Monteverdi, Claudio

1567 - 1643

Monteverdi was musical director of St. Mark's in Venice and became the first great composer of opera.

He introduced the orchestral prelude, enlarged the orchestra, and improved its role by recognizing instrumental differences.

His first opera "Orfeo" was performed in 1607. With this opera Monteverdi had created an entirely new style of music, the musical drama.

Monteverdi's next large-scale work was the "Vespro della Beata Vergine". In its scope it foreshadows such summits of Baroque music as Handel's Messiah, and J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion.

During the last years of his life he composed his two last masterpieces, both operas: "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria" (The Return of Ulysses), and the historic opera "L'incoronazione di Poppea" (The Coronation of Poppea), based on the life of the Roman emperor Nero.