Claudio Monteverdi

By Stephanie Rioux

Montiverdi's Biography

Claudio Monteverdi was born on May 15th, 1567 in Cremona, Italy. He spent most of his life in Matua, Italy. He studied with Mark Antonio Ingegneri at the Cathedral of Cremona, beginning work at age fifteen. His first patron was Vincenzo Gonzago, the Duke of Matua, and Montiverdi worked for him for twenty-one years. He found instant success with his first piece, Orfeo, so he had a pretty wealthy lifestyle. He wrote church music and madrigals, but most famously opreras. Orfeo was his most possible piece, but he also wrote Arianna, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, and L'incoronazione de Poppea. Orfeo was a Greek god. He was a poet and musician, and the son of Calliope. "Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria" means "The return of Olysses at home" in Engish. Olysses is the Latin name for Odysseus, so Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria is about Odysseus's return home after the Trojan War. "L'incoronazione de Poppea" means "the coronation of Poppea" in English. Poppea was a Roman goddess. Mantiverdi writes about both Greek and Roman gods, heroes, and empresses, which shows that he was a classicist. He was also a secularist because he showed a sort of belief in Greek in Roman religion, which worships multiple gods.


Orfeo was written in 1607, and the opera is still performed today. The significance about this piece is that it was Monteverdi's only piece to fully survive, and it was regarded as the first great opera. The piece begins with an upbeat, triumphant melody. It then switches between a short, gentle tune played by string instruments and a story being sung. This piece reflects classicism because Orfeo was a Greek god. I find this piece interesting because it is still popular today and I find it impressive that it has lasted so long. To see this piece, there are many YouTube videos that show performances or the sheet music, including this video which I watched a portion of:

Works Cited (

"Claudio (Giovanni Antoni) Monteverdi." International Dictionary of Opera. Gale, 1993. Biography

in Context. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

olla-vogala. “Claudio Monteverdi - L’Orfeo.” YouTube. YouTube, 22 Oct. 2015.

Portrait of Francesco Andreini (Claudio Monteverdi ?; Francesco Gabrielli ? Giovanni Gabrielli

?).Attributed to Domenico Fetti.17th C.Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia.December 3


Stevens, D. "Claudio Monteverdi." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Biography in

Context. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.