Where should we begin a study of musical theater—with ancient Greek plays, medieval dramas, Renaissance intermedi? If we were to journey to Florence in the late sixteenth century, we would find two groups of people cultivating new ideas about music-making—and their concepts can be traced forward through time to the modern musical. Posterity has given the nickname “Florentine Camerata” to the earlier of these groups; like the later group, it was an assembly of artists, writers, musicians, and aristocrats. (See the Sidebar : The Florentine Camerata, Le nuove musiche, and Opera.) These Italians advocated a simpler, more expressive approach to making music, and believed that they were reviving the singing and theatrical practices of the ancient Greeks. By applying this “new” singing style to contemporary dramas, the participants created opera. The birth of opera coincided with what many historians now call the Baroque period—an era beginning around 1600, and lasting until the early eighteenth century. The first of the Florentine operas was Dafne, although scholars disagree about the year of Dafne’s first performance; it may have been as early as 1594 or as late as 1598.