Francesca Caccini was an accomplished composer of the Italian Baroque period. As a woman and the daughter of a successful composer, Francesca Caccini had to work tirelessly to earn respect as one of the most prominent composers of her time. She was the first women known to have composed an opera, paving the way for future female composers.
Francesca Caccini was born in Florence, Italy on 18 September 1587 to a musical family. Her father was the prolific and successful composer Giulio Caccini. She was surrounded by singers in her family, including her father, siblings, husband and her children. Caccini’s father ensured that she was properly trained as a musician. She received lessons in singing, guitar, harp, keyboard and composition. In addition to her musical education, it is assumed that Caccini also received a literary education, as she was a proficient poet in multiple languages, including Italian and Latin.
Together with her sister Settima and her stepmother Margherita della Scala, Francesca Caccini is assumed to have been one of the members of an ensemble known as the ‘donne di Giulio Romano’ (referring to her father). The ensemble was later replaced by ‘la signora Francesca e le sue figiuole’ (Francesca and her pupils). These ladies performed together not only in Jacobo Peri’s L’Eurice, but also in Giulio Caccini’s Il rapimento di Cefali. In addition, they were prominent in the Medici court for many years.