Alessandro Stradella (1644-1682)

Stradella was initially a singer, though he also played lute and violin, taught Latin and wrote some of his texts himself. In addition to sonatas he composed sinfonias - he is credited with the first example of concerto grosso form. He worked mainly for commissions from Christina of Sweden and other patrons, as well as from brotherhoods, theatres and churches. An adventurer - either in flight (from Rome to Venice to Turin to Genoa) or in prison or in danger - he escaped being killed in 1677 in Turin, only to die in Genoa at the age of 37 as a result of one of his affairs. His 195 to 220 highly imaginative cantatas (less transgressive than his behaviour) show all the aspects shown in his operas and oratorios: an irregular succession of aria and recitative, with arioso and coloratura passages. Most of the cantatas are secular, and tend to be dramatic with narrative introductions.

Nero (Il Nerone)