Stradella, Alessandro, 1642?-1682, Italian composer of operas, cantatas, oratorios, and instrumental music. Few facts but many legends exist concerning his life; he is said to have been assassinated at the behest of a Venetian nobleman with whose mistress Stradella had eloped. His life is the subject of several operas, one by Friedrich von Flotow (1844). Stradella's music is generally lighthearted and melodious. He helped to develop the structural form and expressive power of the aria and to increase the use of contrapuntal techniques in opera. Handel was influenced by his oratorios and even borrowed some of his musical ideas.