Francesco Cavalli was born on 14 February 1602 in the Venetian city of Crema, the son of the organist Giovanni Battista Caletti. He was a choirboy in the cathedral and came to the notice of the Venetian governor Federico Cavalli, who became his patron; in return, the young Francesco Caletti eventually became Francesco Cavalli. He entered the choir of St Mark’s, Venice, in 1616 as a treble and worked there for the rest of his life with the exception of an extended visit to Paris from 1660 until 1662. He became second organist in 1639, first organist in 1665, and maestro di capella in 1668. After Monteverdi, his probable teacher, died in 1643 he was the most important figure in the Venetian operatic scene. He found time to write more than thirty operas, including Xerse
and Ercole amante
, the works he produced in Paris. He died in Venice on 14 January 1676, leaving money for the twice-yearly performance of his own eight-part setting of the Requiem Mass.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1997