Francesco Rasi


Italian singer (tenor) and composer. Probably a pupil of Caccini. He performed with great success during the 1590s in Romeunder the patronage of Grand Duke Ferdinand I of Tuscany. In 1594 he entered the service of Gesualdo at the Florentine court, then the Gonzaga court at Mantua in 1598-1620. He sang in the first performance of Peri's Euridice and Caccini's Il rapimento di Cefalo in1600, and in 1607 almost certainly created the title rôle in Monteverdi's Orfeo. In 1612 he journeyed to Vienna and Salzburg, dedicating a volume of sacred and secular songs to the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. In 1617 he composed an opera, Cibele, ed Ati, the music to which is lost. He published two collections of monodies, Vaghezze di musica per una voce sola (Venice, 1608), and Madrigali di diversi autori (Florence, 1610). His Dialoghi of 1620 are among the earliest Italian cantatas. His voice was singled out for praise in the preface to Gagliano's Dafne.

VD: The Cantata