Francesca Caccini

Biography

Born: September 18, 1587   Died: 1640; Florence, Italy  
Francesca Caccini (Signorini), known as "La Cecchina" was one of the most acclaimed sopranos of her time and a noted teacher, as well as a composer of the early Baroque era.

She was the elder of two daughters of the composer Giulio Caccini. They both became noted opera singers; the younger sister, Settimia Caccini ("La Flora") was also a composer. Francesca was taught by her father. She made her stage debut singing at the marriage of
Read more Henri IV of France to Maria de' Medici, for which Giulio Caccini wrote the music. Four years later, in 1604, the French king invited the Caccini family to visit his court in Paris. Henry wrote back to the Caccini's masters, the Grand Duke Ferdinando de' Medici of Tuscany, proclaiming her the best singer in all of France and asking the Duke to release her to his service. Ferdinand refused, and the Caccinis dutifully all returned to Florence. Near her 20th birthday the Duke hired her in her own right as a court singer. Within seven years, her salary had increased from to the level of practically the highest-paid musician at court. This reflects her growing fame, her increasing vocal and expressive powers, and her growing prowess as a composer.

In 1608 she began collaborating with the poet Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger in writing works for court entertainment. She wrote an opera called Il ballo delle zigane for Carnival season in 1615. In 1616 Cardinal Carlo de' Medici made an official trip to Rome and took her and her husband, Giovanni Battista Signorini Malaspina, along. She was so well-received by the Roman dignitaries that she was granted leave to undertake a concert tour of northern Italy. It was highly successful and earned her great acclaim. In return, she wrote a book of songs the next year and dedicated it to the Cardinal. She started taking on students, and continued to sing regularly at court for several more years. In 1625 she wrote an opera to commemorate the visit to Florence of the future king of Poland. This opera, La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina, became her most popular work. In 1682 it was given in Warsaw, making it the first Italian opera to be played in that country. Her husband died in 1627. She continued to sing on a few occasions, but her name disappears from official records soon afterwards, suggesting she retired. In 1640 there is a death notice for a Francesca Caccini, listed as the wife of a senator. It is likely that this is she, suggesting that when she remarried she withdrew from professional music-making.

Her collection of vocal music, Il primo libro delle musiche (1618), is one of the finest collections of early solo songs. It follows the monodic style developed by her father and includes pieces in various genres, including madrigals, canzonettas, and several others. The vocal writing is among the most brilliant of the early Baroque era. She wrote out many of the ornamentations and trills. The melodic lines have a strong, arching character, and other inventive features, all adding up to a strong dramatic presentation of the texts. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Caccini: L'euridice / Alessandrini, Concerto Italiano
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 30552 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesca Caccini
    Performer:  Luca Dordolo,  Silvia Frigato,  Furio Zanasi,  Monica Piccinini  ... 
    Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 2.
    Das Alte Werk - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 46438 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Tachezi,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Jeannette Van Wingerden  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Werner Ehrhardt,  Giovanni Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Leonhardt Consort,  Studio for Early Music  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
    CD: $199.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $299.98   CD:  $199.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Full Well She Sang / Toronto Consort
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81445 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Hildegard of Bingen,  Traditional,  de Dia, Beatriz, Comtessa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Consort
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 4.
    Francesca Caccini: Sacred & Secular Songs / Fedi, Lastraioli
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94461 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesca Caccini
    Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi
    Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
    Recommendation
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 5.
    A Baroque Christmas [3-CD Set]
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 329 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Various,  Samuel Scheidt,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Matthias Weckman  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr,  John Elwes,  Ian Honeyman,  James Bowman  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Boterf,  Jean Tubery,  Philippe Pierlot,  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ricercar Consort,  Namur Chamber Choir,  La Fenice  ... 
    CD: $44.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $44.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Il Canto Delle Dame / Maria Cristina Kiehr, Concerto Soave
    Label: Ambronay   Catalog: 25 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Caterina Assandra,  Giovanni Pietro del Buono,  Francesca Caccini,  Isabella Leonarda  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr
    Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
    Recommendation
    On sale! $21.98
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Concerto Delle Donne
    Label: Ligia   Catalog: 202118 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marieta Morosina Prioli,  Francesca Caccini,  Settimia Caccini,  Barbara Strozzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Primavera
    Recommendation
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $17.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    Francesca Caccini: O Viva Rosa / Shannon Mercer
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29966 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesca Caccini
    Performer:  Shannon Mercer,  Luc Beauséjour,  Amanda Keesmaat,  Sylvain Bergeron
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Songs Of The Baroque Era
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 2564696719 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adam Krieger,  Heinrich Albert,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber,  Nicolaus Hasse  ... 
    Performer:  Max van Egmond,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Jeannette Van Wingerden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    O Dulcis Amor / La Villanella Basel
    Label: Ramee   Catalog: 401 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesca Caccini,  Isabella Leonarda,  Barbara Strozzi,  Vittoria Aleotti  ... 
    Performer:  Heike Pichler-Trosits
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Villanella Basel
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 11.
    Canzoni Da Sonar: Early Italian Violin Music / Matthews
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2529 Release Date: 04/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giulio Caccini,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  B. Selma y Salaverde,  Giovanni Bassano  ... 
    Performer:  Byron Schenkman,  Ingrid Matthews
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    Women's Voices - Five Centuries Of Song / Pilgrim, Et Al
    Label: Leonarda   Catalog: 338 Release Date: 02/27/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Duchess of Saxe-Weimar Anna Amalia,  Elizabeth Vercoe,  Libby Larsen,  Gwyneth van Anden Walker  ... 
    Performer:  Edward Smith,  Neva Pilgrim,  Steven Heyman
    On sale! $22.99
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $22.99   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart