One of the most important developers of the artform that is now known as opera, Claudio Monteverdi was a composer who spanned the end of the Renaissance period, and the beginning of the Baroque period.
Whilst studying under the tutelage of Marcantonio Ingegneri at Cremona Cathedral, Monteverdi published his first collections of sacred and secular compositions. Still a teenager, his personal style had not yet fully developed, but even then he showed great promise as a composer.
Under the employ of the Duke of Mantua, he was able to collaborate and learn from some of the era's finest composers and performers. It was there that Monteverdi began to develop an understanding of emotional expression in music.
Based on what he learned from composing madrigals and masses, at the age of 40 Monteverdi drew together his first opera L'Orfeo. In this new form, spoken dramatic word was replaced with sung lines that retained their spoken rhythm, in a style that became known as 'recitative'. Monteverdi's works are considered some of the most emotional and expressive examples of recitative based opera, as the composer was not afraid to employ the use of dissonance and unusual harmonies.
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