Claudio Monteverdi


Simple Biography

- Monteverdi was born on May 15,1567 in Cremona, Italy.

- He spent most of his life in the court of Mantua, Italy as the maestro di capella, or the master of the choir.

- When he was young learned to play the organ and studied singing and theory with Marc' Antonio Ingegneri.

- He traveled around Europe to spread his music and to conduct at different courts. He also spent a lot of time composing his music.

- Monteverdi wrote operas, three of them are L'Orfeo, L'Arianna, and L'incoronazione di Poppea.

- His patron was Duke Vincenzo of Mantua.


- The name of this opera is L'Orfeo

- This piece was written in 1607.

- You could see Orfeo today performed in theaters around the world.

- I find this piece interesting because I love music and theater. This is a beautiful use of music and is considered the first great opera.

- Classicism is most clearly linked to this piece because it has Greek gods and alludes to Greek mythology.

Orfeo is a musical masterpiece of emotions. The opera restores ancient ideas of mythology using new techniques of music and theater. The combination of the instrumental ensemble, the choir, and the individual solo songs displayed the complexity of emotion and an adventure to the underworld. The music has survived all these years and is a classical work of art.

Orfeo Significance

This piece was considered the first great opera. It was the first time that music was transformed from the ordinary and unimportant noise to a thorough-composed and interesting masterpiece. Changes between a happy and large group of singers and one solemn singer expressed the emotions of the characters. Also, the use of a large instrument ensemble added more contrast and feeling to the music.

Other Facts

- At age 15 a collection of his three-part motets was published.

- After his wife's death he became a priest.

- He wrote nine music books that were published.

- Monteverdi is the only seventeenth-century composer whose work has an established place in today's opera.

- He was very successful in creating character with human depth.


Classicism: His most famous work, Orfeo, has a lot of similarities to classic Greek theater. In this opera there is a Greek chorus and some Greek gods.

Humanism: His surviving operas, which include Poppea, make it apparent that he understood the complexity of human emotions. Through the music these emotions are displayed.