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CURIOSITIES OF THE OPERA. 353
Pope Clement ix., wrote seven librettos for operas. All was not sung in these: they were rather tragedies with choruses.*
In 1500 the popes possessed a theatre, with decoration* and machinery. The paintings in this editice were by Balthazar Peruzzi, who may be said to be the father of scene painting. His scenery is said to have been very realistic.
Julian de Medicis, brother of Leon x , on being proclaimed a citizen of Rome gave public plays, and had a comedy of Plautus presented for two days, the music of which was much admired.
In 1574. Claudio Merulo, organist at St. Mark's, composed music to a drama, which was performed in the presence of Henry in., of France.
Vincent Galileo, father of the astronomer, and Giovauni lJardi invented the recitative at about the same time.
Peri and Caccini, two of the best musicians of Florence were engaged by two rich noblemen to write for them a complete opera; JDq/he, produced in Florence (1597,) was the result, and was the first complete opera in modern form; these composers were therefore the originators of the opera.
An opera by the same writers was given at the wedding of Henry iv., and Marie de Medici. Rinucci, the author of the libretti of both the above was silly enough to imagine that Marie de Medici loved him. and followed her into France-
•L'Operaltalien. Castil-Blaie, p. 20. 23