Francesca Caccini was the was an Italian composer, singer, lutenist, poet, and music teacher of the early Baroque era. She was the daughter of Giulio Caccini, and was probably the most famous and influential female European composer, in any genre, between Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century and the 19th century. Her opera, La liberazione di Ruggiero, was the first opera by a woman composer.
Caccini was born in Florence, most likely receiving her early musical training with her father. Her first recorded appearance in public is as a singer at the wedding of Henry IV of France and Maria de Medici in 1600; her father took part in organizing and composing the music for the sumptuous entertainment involved. In 1604 when the entire Caccini family visited France, Henry praised her singing effusively – ‘you are the best singer in all of France’ – and asked her to stay at his court; however the Florentine officials denied his request, and she returned to Italy, where her fame continued to grow. Shortly afterwards she attracted the attention of Claudio Monteverdi as well, who praised her singing and instrumental performance. In 1607 she married a member of the Florentine Camerata, Giovanni Battista Signorini.