Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Jacopo Peri

Music History Monday: Firsts!

There are “firsts” and then there are firsts. The first person to eat sliced bread? No big deal.  But the first person to eat an artichoke (which is, let’s be honest, a giant freaking thorn)? That took guts; that’s a first. The first person to moonwalk? (That would be the bandleader Cab Calloway, who invented the move in the mid 1930s and called it “the Buzz.”) Admirable, but really not a particularly big deal.  The first person to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong; July 20, 1969)? One of the most epic firsts in the history of humankind. Let’s discuss another of the most epic firsts in all of human history: the first person to compose a complete opera.  That event occurred in the city of Florence in 1600, and that person was the singer, actor, organist and composer Jacopo Peri, who was born in Rome on August 20, 1561, 457 years ago today. Happy birthday, Maestro! Admittedly, there were numerous other composers of theatrical music active in Florence at the time, and the names Giulio Caccini and Emilio de’ Cavalieri have also been bandied about as possible “originators” of opera.  But Peri must receive the credit because of his […]

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