1603-1674. Italian composer. He is important in the history of sacred music for the role he played in developing oratorio. He worked in Rome, and the objective of his works in this form was didactic under the influence of the Jesuits. What came to be called oratorio was originally sacred opera and began about 1600 with the work of Cavalieri. Carissimi's works presented in dramatic style episodes mainly from the Bible. They were in Latin, with dramatis personae represented by solo voices, but without costumes and scenery. A significant role was given to the chorus, which sang in simple chordal style to give greater audibility to the words. Although living much later, Handel* was indebted to Carissimi.