JACOPO PERI (1561 - 1633)
Scion of a noble Florentine family, Jacopo Peri was born in Rome but was soon in Florence, where he had early experience as a singer and lessons with Malvezzi, maestro di cappella at the Cathedral. From 1579 to 1605 he served as organist at the Badia Fiorentina and from 1586 as a singer at S Giovanni Battista. His association with the Medici court dates from the 1580s, and he also won recognition from the Gonzagas in Mantua.
Peri is particularly remembered for his development of Italian dramatic monody and for his contribution to the beginning of Western opera. His Euridice (with a libretto by Rinuccini, librettist of Monteverdi’s lost opera Arianna and of the same composer’s Mascherata delle ingrate) is the first surviving opera—the result of various attempts, particularly in Florence, to recreate the drama of ancient Greece.