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With the production of 'Euridice' the history of opera may be said to begin; but if the new art-form had depended only upon the efforts of Peri and his friends, it must soon have languished and died. With all their enthusiasm, the little band of Florentines had too slight an acquaintance with the science of music to give proper effect to the ideas which they originated. Peri built the ship, but it was reserved for the genius of Claudio Monteverde to launch it upon a wider ocean than his predecessor could have dreamed of. Monteverde had been trained in the polyphonic school of Palestrina, but his genius had never acquiesced in the rules and restrictions in which the older masters delighted. He was a poor contrapuntist, and his madrigals are chiefly interesting as a proof of how ill the novel harmonies of which he was the discoverer accorded with the severe purity of the older school But in the new art he found the field his genius required. What had been weakness and license in the madrigal became strength and beauty in the opera. The new wine was put into new bottles, and both were preserved. Monteverde produced his 'Arianna' in 1607, and his 'Orfeo' in 1608, and with these two works started opera upon the path of development which was to culminate in the works of Wagner. 'Arianna, which, according to Marco da Gagliano, himself a rival composer of high ability, 'visibly moved all the theatre to tears, is lost to us save for a few quotations; but 'Orfeo' is in existence, and has recently been reprinted in Germany. A glance at the score shows what a gulf separates this work from Peri's treatment of the same story. Monteverde, with his orchestra of thirty-nine instruments brass, wood, and strings complete his rich and brilliant harmonies, sounding so strangely beautiful to ears accustomed only to the severity of the polyphonic school, and his delicious and affecting melodies, sometimes rising almost to the dignity of an aria, must have seemed something more than human to the eager Venetians as they listened for the first time to music as rich in colour as the gleaming marbles of the C