Barbara Strozzi


Barbara Strozzi

Italian composer, born August 6, 1619: According to the baptismal register of the Church of Santa Sofia in Venice, her mother was one Isabella Griegha and her father was unknown. In fact, the mother was a servant in the house of Giulio Strozzi, a prominent citizen and highly respected man of letters, who subsequently referred to Barbara as his adoptive daughter and designated her is his heiress. More than probably, she was his natural daughter. Most notably he ensured that she had an education, something then ordinarily withheld from women.

In 1635,Nicolň Fontei published his first volume of Bizzarrie poetiche in Venice, songs with which he "principally desires to please the charming and highly gifted young woman Signora Barbara." Already by the age of sixteen, Barbara had made a name for herself as a musician: She sang at concerts in the Giulio Strozzi house, accompanying herself on one of the many instruments that she could playing; the texts of her songs were by Giulio Strozzi. In 1637 a book appeared under the title The evening gatherings of the gentlemen of the Accademia dei Unisoni, held in Venice at the home of Signore Giulio Strozzi, dedicated to the renowned Signora Barbara Strozzi. Barbara, now eighteen years old, is now in the center of these gatherings. It can be speculated that her rôle was not only as musician but possibly also as courtesan. Such would not have been unusual at that time.

In 1644 Barbara Strozzi published her first Opus: "the first work that I, as a woman, all too daringly bring to the light of day." The texts are again by Giulio Strozzi. In the preface, she names as her teacher Francesco Cavalli, who, apart Claudio Monteverdi, was then the premier opera composer. A break of seven years follows, then further works appear. The break is undoubtedly because in that same year of 1644, her eldest daughter was born; as with the three children who follow, the father is unrecorded, and apparently Strozzi raised her children alone. In subsequent years she published a significant body of work, including no fewer than no fewer than six volumes of cantatas -- in this genre, more than any other composer of the time. After 1664, no more is heard of her until her death is registered in 1677 in Padua.

A Partial Barbara Strozzi Discography | VD: The Cantata