Rinuccini, Ottavio

, an Italian poet of Florence, who went into France in the suite of Mary of Medicis, queen to Henry IV. is the reputed inventor of the musical drama or opera, that is, of the manner of writing, or representing comedies or tragedies in music, to which the first recitative was applied. Others give this invention to a Roman gentleman of the name of Emilio del Cavaliere, who was more properly the inventor of the sacred drama or oratorio, in a similar species of music or recitative, so nearly at the same time that it is difficult to determine which was first: both had their beginning in 1600. Rinucciui was author of three lyric pieces, “Daphne,” “Euridice,” and “Ariadne,” which all Italy applauded. Euridice, written for the nuptials of Mary of Medicis, was first performed with great splendor and magnificence at Florence, at the court and expence of the grand duke. The poetry is truly lyrical, smooth, polished, and mellifluous. He died in 1621, at Florence; and a collection, or rather selection, of his works were published in 1622, in the same city, in 4*o, by his son, Pietro Francesco Rinuccini, and another entitled “Drammi Musicale,” in 1802, 8vo, at Leghorn. The family is noble, and was subsisting in 1770. More of Ottavio may be seen in the appendix to Walker’s “Life of Tassoni,” just published, 1816. 2

2

Hawkins and Burney’s Hist, of Music, and the latter in Rees’s Cyclopædia.

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