Jacopo Peri, 1561-1633


Selected Recordings

Tu dormi e’l dolce sonno

Al canto, al ballo, all’ombra

Dunque fra torbide onde (madrigale)

Selected Sheet Music

“Nel puro ardor” from Euridice


Source: CPDL.org

Showcase Piece

L’Euridice (complete version)

Notes and Commentary

Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera. He wrote the first work to be called an opera today, Dafne (around 1597), and also the first opera to have survived to the present day, Euridice (1600). In the 1590s, Peri became associated with Jacopo Corsi, the leading patron of music in Florence. The two of them believed contemporary art was inferior to classical Greek and Roman works, and attempted to recreate Greek tragedy, as they understood it. Their work added to that of the Florentine Camerata of the previous decade, which produced the first experiments in monody, the solo song style over continuo bass which eventually developed into recitative and aria.

Peri and Corsi brought in the poet Ottavio Rinuccini to write a text, and the result, Dafne, though nowadays thought to be a long way from anything the Greeks would have recognised, is seen as the first work in a new form, opera. Rinuccini and Peri next collaborated on Euridice. This was first performed on October 6, 1600, at the Palazzo Pitti. Unlike Dafne, it has survived to the present day (though it is hardly ever staged, and then only as an historical curio). The work made use of recitatives, a new development which went between the arias and choruses and served to move the action along.

Peri produced a number of other operas, often in collaboration with other composers, and also wrote a number of other pieces for various court entertainments. Few of his pieces are performed today, and even by the time of his death his operatic style was looking old-fashioned when compared to the work of relatively younger reformist composers such as Claudio Monteverdi. Peri’s influence on those later composers, however, was large. He lived from August 20, 1561, to August 12, 1633.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Orpheus in the Marketplace
Harvard University Press, 2013
Richard A. Goldthwaite and Tim Carter
$38.77 on Amazon


“Richard Goldthwaite, an economic historian, and Tim Carter, a musicologist, have done much more than write a biography: their investigation exposes the remarkable value of Peri’s private account books and other financial documents as a primary source for an entire period. This record of Peri’s wide-ranging investments and activities in the marketplace enables the first detailed account of the Florentine economy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and also opens a completely new perspective on one of Europe’s principal centers of capitalism.”—From the book description at Michael Shamansky, Bookseller

Selected Music

Euridice-2 Euridice (2000), 2-CD set

zazzerino Il Zazzerino (1999), 1 CD

opera omnia Opera Omnia I: Madrigali (2010), 1 CD

More Jacopo Peri music

Complete Works

Dafne, with Jacopo Corsi
L’Euridice, with Jacopo Corsi
La Flora, with Marco da Gagliano
Other operas
Other pieces for court entertainments

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