Martinelli, Caterina, Italian singer; b. Rome, 1589 or 1590; d. Mantua (buried), March 7, 1608. She entered the service of the Gonzaga family in Mantua in 1603, where her talent was appreciated by Monteverdi. After appearing as a singer there in 1608, Monteverdi was prompted to compose the title role of his opera L’Arianna for Martinelli. However, she was stricken with smallpox and died before the work could be mounted. Monteverdi was then moved to write his madrigal cycle Lagrime d’amante al sepolcro dell’amata in her memory (publ. in his 6th book of madrigals, 1614).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire