Born: 1591, Florence, Italy
Died: 1638, Italy
Settimia Caccini (nicknamed La Flora or Florinda) was, “an illustrious singer with superhuman grace and an angelic voice,” wrote Marcello Buttigli, a popular music critic during Caccini’s time. She sang in her family’s consort in Florence with her mother, singer Lucia di Filippo Gagnolandi, father, composer Giulio Caccini, and older sister, composer and singer Francesca Caccini. At the Medici court where her father was employed, she probably made her singing debut in one of his 2 operas, Il rapimento di Cefalo (1600) or Euridice (1602). In 1611, she collaborated with her sister Francesca, and well known male composers, Antonio Archilei and Jacopo Peri, to compose Mascherata di ninfe di Senna.
While engaged to Alessandro Ghivizzani, a tumultuous conflict took place because Caccini’s family delayed paying their daughter’s dowry. The Ghivizzani family eventually abducted Caccini in Lucca until the dowry was paid. After marrying, Caccini and her husband were employed first by the Medicis and later by the Gonzaga family of Mantua, where they both had the opportunity to work with Monteverdi. Caccini and her husband performed in Lucca and Parma for years. Caccini likely composed at least four works under her married name, eventually returning to the Medici court as a singer in 1636 after her husband’s death. Despite not being as prolific a composer as her sister, Caccini’s talents as a singer were greatly admired.