Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi
Italian composer who, while working at Mantua, was among the first to develop the new form of opera. His own operas include The Coronation of Poppea and Orpheus. He was also Director of Music as St Mark's, Venice, where he wrote the distinguished setting of Vespers. Apart from his church music his madrigals are a particular importance in the development of expressive vocal music. His life was beset by a series of personal tragedies, among them the death of his wife and the destruction by fire of many of his manuscripts. At Venice he was ordained a priest.
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