Opera originated during the Renaissance in Florence. Jacopo Peri's Dafne, dating from just before the turn of the 17th century, is regarded by musicologists as the earliest example of opera. The genre soon spread throughout Europe. In Germany, Schutz was one of the earliest opera composers; in France, Lully made a name for himself with Cadmus et Hermionie and other gems at Louis XIV's court; in England, Purcell was the most eminent opera composer of his day. All these important figures helped to establish each of their national traditions in opera.
In the 18th century Italian opera continued to dominate as an art form in many countries in Europe. Opera seria was the most prestigious form and opera buffa, or comic opera, had a more widespread following from various strata in society. This changed when the German composer Gluck called for a reform, considering opera seria to be too artificial. Today, some of the most widely-performed operas from the classical period are by Mozart, famed for both opera seria and opera buffa. His most prized operas are The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and Cosi Fan Tutte.