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Alessandro Striggio

Librettist

Biography

Italian musician and librettist Alessandro Striggio II (c1573–1630) was a nobleman in the court of the Gonzaga family in Mantua, and the author of the text for Monteverdi’s first opera Orfeo (1607).

The son of composer Alessandro Striggio I (famed for his 40-part motet Ecce beatam lucem), Striggio trained as a lawyer and enjoyed a successful diplomatic career with the Gonzagas, eventually attaining the rank of chancellor. His musical activities were varied; he played in the orchestra for the grand wedding of Ferdinando de’ Medici and Christine of Lorraine in 1589, and also published some of his father’s madrigals posthumously. This was in addition to his work as a librettist – his Orfeo was an adaptation of Ottavio Rinuccini’s text for Jacopo Peri’s Euridice (1600), though he altered that opera’s conclusion, which originally saw the couple return from the underworld unharmed. He retained contact with Monteverdi after the composer’s move to Venice in 1613, and wrote librettos for the lost cantata Apollo and probably Tirsi e Clori, another dramatic work.

Striggio also wrote two opera librettos for the composer Marco da Gagliano: Il trionfo d’onore and Il balletto d’sacrifico Ifigenia.