The Kennedy Center

Marco Marazzoli


Marco Marazzoli was an Italian composer, priest, singer and harpist.  He was one of the most versatile composers of vocal music in the Italy.  He is best remember for his collaboration on Chi soffre speri, one of the earliest comic operas.
He was born in the Italian city of Parma.  His parents were Dionisio and Flora de' Marazzoli, they had four children.  Very little is known of his childhood other than he received training as a priest at a young age and was ordained sometime around 1625.  By 1626 he had moved to Rome in service to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, an Italian Catholic cardinal, Archbishop of Reims, military leader, patron of the arts and a prominent member of the House of Barberini.  He traveled extensively while in serve to the Cardinal and in 1631, he and other musicial contemporaries such as Filippo Vitali and Landi accompanied the cardinal on official trips.     
Following a period as a priest and singer at Parma Cathedral in 1637 he was appointed Cardinal Barberini's aiutante di camera and he served in Rome as a tenor in the papal chapel.  In 1639 he was promoted to the position of musico under the Cardinal.  In 1638, he composed the music a ballet La piazza d'Orlando for the Carnival of Venice festival, an annual festival held in Venice, Italy.  In 1639 he collaborated with  Virgilio Mazzocchi on one of the first comic opera, Chi soffre speri, ‘Who Suffers May Hope' which had its premiered in Rome.  By 1640 he served as a tenor in the Sistine Chapel
By 1642, he traveled to Paris working in the Court of Anne of Austria composing chamber cantata.  On his return to Rome in April 1645, sadly he was unable to find job opportunities for opera as he found his former patron the Barberini family exiled to France, where they stayed until 1653.  He then turned to composing oratorio, for orchestra, choirs and soloists.  When the Barberini family returned from exile they commissioned an opera from him, for the wedding of Taddeo Barberini's son Don Maffeo Barberini.  He was also known as a harp player, he owned a gilded Barberini harp now in the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali, Rome.  He died tragically after an accident during mass at the Sistine Chapel in 1662.
Marco Marazzoli