Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy

Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy.  Vivaldi was an Italian baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and Catholic priest.   Born Antonio Lucio Vivaldi in Venice on the 4th March 1678, he is recognised as one of the greatest baroque composers and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe.  He is known mainly for composing many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other instruments; as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas.  His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as “The Four Seasons.”

Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned childre; where Vivaldi, who had been ordained as a Catholic priest, was employed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740.  Vivaldi also had some success with stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna.  After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for an important position.   Unfortunately, soon after Vivaldi’s arrival; the Emperor died.   Less than a year later, on the 28th July 1741; Vivaldi himself died in poverty


Antonio Lucio Vivaldi  (4th March 1678–28th July 1741)

Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy: Childhood

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice, which at the time was the capital of the Republic of Venice.  He was baptised immediately after his birth at his home by the midwife, which led to a belief that his life was thought to be in danger.  The child’s immediate baptism, was most likely due either to his poor health or coincidentally, due to the fact that to an earthquake shook the city that very day.  In the trauma of the moment, Vivaldi’s mother may have dedicated him to the priesthood (an act that often assured a good education).  An official church baptism took place two months later, at the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Bragora; in the district of Castello (photo: below left).

Vivaldi’s parents, as recorded in the register of San Giovanni in Bragora; were Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and Camilla Calicchio.  Vivaldi had five siblings: Margarita Gabriela, Cecilia Maria, Bonaventura Tomaso, Zanetta Anna and Francesco Gaetano.

Giovanni Battista, who was a barber before becoming a professional violinist; taught Antonio to play the violin from a young age.  Through his father, Vivaldi met and learned from some of the finest musicians and composers in Venice at the time.  By the age of 24,  Antonio had already acquired an extensive musical knowledge.

His father Giovanni Battista, was one of the founders of the “Sovvegno dei musicisti di Santa Cecilia”, an association of musicians. The president of the Sovvegno was Giovanni Legrenzi, an early baroque composer and the “maestro di cappella” at St Mark’s Basilica.  It is possible that Legrenzi gave the young Antonio his first lessons in composition, as one of his first liturgical works was written in 1691, at the age of thirteen.  Vivaldi’s father may have been a composer himself.  In 1689, an opera titled “La Fedeltà sfortunata” was composed by a Giovanni Battista Rossi; the name under which Vivaldi’s father had registered to join the Sovvegno di Santa Cecilia.

Vivaldi’s health was problematic. His symptoms, “strettezza di petto” (tightness of the chest), were thought to be a form of asthma.  This did not prevent him from learning to play the violin, composing or taking part in musical activities; although it did stop him from playing wind instruments.

In 1693, at the age of fifteen, he began studying to become a priest.  He was ordained in 1703, aged 25 and was soon nicknamed “il Prete Rosso” (The Red Priest); referring to a family trait for red hair.  Not long after his ordination in 1704, he was given a dispensation from celebrating Mass, because of his ill health and appeared to have withdrawn from priestly duties, despite remaining a priest and a devout catholic for all his life.


Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy: Conservatorio dell’Ospedale della Pietà

In September 1703, Vivaldi became “maestro di violino” (master of violin) at an orphanage called the Pio Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice.  While Vivaldi is most famous as a composer, he was regarded as an exceptional technical violinist, with an astounding ability to improvise.


LEFT: Commemorative plaque beside the Ospedale della Pietà.

Vivaldi was only twenty-five when he started working at the Ospedale della Pietà.  Over the next thirty years he composed most of his major works while working there.  There were three other similar institutions in Venice: the Mendicanti, the Incurabili and the Ospedaletto.

Their purpose was to give shelter and education to children who were abandoned or orphaned, or whose families could not support them.  They were financed by funds provided by the Republic.  The boys learned a trade and had to leave when they reached fifteen.  The girls received a musical education and the most talented stayed and became members of the Ospedale’s renowned orchestra and choir.

Shortly after Vivaldi’s appointment, the orphans began to gain appreciation and esteem abroad, too.  Vivaldi wrote concertos, cantatas and sacred vocal music for them.  These sacred works, which number over 60, are varied: they included solo motets and large-scale choral works for soloists, double chorus, and orchestra.  In 1704, the position of teacher of “viola all’inglese” was added to his duties as violin instructor.  The position of “maestro di coro“, which was at one time filled by Vivaldi, required a lot of time and work.  He had to compose an oratorio or concerto at every feast and teach the orphans both music theory and how to play certain instruments.

His relationship with the board of directors of the Ospedale was often strained.  The board had to take a vote every year on whether to keep a teacher.  The vote on Vivaldi was seldom unanimous and went 7 to 6 against him in 1709.  After a year as a freelance musician, he was recalled by the Ospedale with a unanimous vote in 1711; clearly during his year’s absence the board realised the importance of his role.  He became responsible for all of the musical activity of the institution when he was promoted to “maestro de’ concerti” (music director) in 1716.

In 1705, the first collection (Connor Cassara) of his works was published by Giuseppe Sala: his Opus 1 is a collection of 12 sonatas for two violins and basso continuo, in a conventional style.  In 1709, a second collection of 12 sonatas for violin and basso continuo appeared, his Opus 2.

A real breakthrough as a composer came with his first collection of 12 concerti for one, two, and four violins with strings; “L’estro armonico” (Harmonic Imagination or Harmonic Inspiration) Opus 3.

It was published in Amsterdam in 1711, by Estienne Roger and dedicated to Grand Prince Ferdinand of Tuscany.  The prince sponsored many musicians including Alessandro Scarlatti and George Frideric Handel, who was a musician himself and Vivaldi probably met him in Venice.  L’estro armonico was a resounding success all ove”r Europe.  It was followed in 1714 by “La stravaganza” Opus 4, a collection of concerti for solo violin and strings, dedicated to an old violin student of Vivaldi’s, the Venetian noble Vettor Dolfin.

In February 1711, Vivaldi and his father travelled to Brescia, where his setting of the “Stabat Mater” (RV 621) was played as part of a religious festival.  Despite the work appearing to have been written in haste, it is considered one of his early masterpieces.

Despite his frequent travels from 1718 onward, the Pietà paid him two sequins to write two concerti a month for the orchestra and to rehearse with them at least five times when in Venice.  The Pietà’s records show that he was paid for 140 concerti between 1723 and 1733.


Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy: Opera Impresario

LEFT: First edition of Juditha Triumphans

In early eighteenth-century Venice, opera was the most popular musical entertainment.  It proved most profitable for Vivaldi.  There were several theatres competing for the public’s attention.  Vivaldi started his career as an opera composer as a sideline: his first opera, “Ottone in villa” (RV 729) was performed not in Venice, but at the Garzerie Theater in Vicenza in 1713.  The following year, Vivaldi became the impresario of the Teatro San Angelo in Venice, where his opera “Orlando finto pazzo” (RV 727) was performed.  The work was not to the public’s taste and it closed after a couple of weeks; being replaced with a repeat of a different work already given the previous year.

In 1715, he presented “Nerone fatto Cesare” (RV 724, now lost), with music by seven different composers, of which he was the leader.  The opera contained eleven arias and was a success.  In the late season, Vivaldi planned to put on an opera composed entirely by him, “Arsilda, regina di Ponto” (RV 700), but the state censor blocked the performance.  The main character, Arsilda, falls in love with another woman, Lisea, who is pretending to be a man.  Vivaldi got the censor to accept the opera the following year and it was a resounding success.

During this period, the Pietà commissioned several liturgical works.  The most important were two oratorios; the first “Moyses Deus Pharaonis“, (RV 643) is lost.  The second, “Juditha triumphans” (RV 644), celebrates the victory of the Republic of Venice against the Turks and the recapture of the island of Corfu.  Composed in 1716, it is one of his sacred masterpieces.  All eleven singing parts were performed by girls of the Pietà, both the female and male roles.  Many of the arias include parts for solo instruments; recorders, oboes, violas d’amore, and mandolins; that showcased the range of talents of the girls.

Also in 1716, Vivaldi wrote and produced two more operas, “L’incoronazione di Dario” (RV 719) and “La costanza trionfante degli amori e degli odi” (RV 706).  The latter was so popular that it performed two years later, re-edited and re-titled “Artabano re dei Parti” (RV 701, now lost).  It was also performed in Prague in 1732.  In the following years, Vivaldi wrote several operas that were performed all over Italy.

His progressive operatic style caused him some trouble with more conservative musicians, like Benedetto Marcello; a magistrate and amateur musician who wrote a pamphlet “Il teatro alla moda“denouncing him and his operas.  The pamphlet attacks Vivaldi without mentioning him directly.

In a letter written by Vivaldi to his patron Marchese Bentivoglio in 1737, he makes reference to his “ninety-four operas.”  Only around fifty operas by Vivaldi have been discovered and no other documentation of the remaining operas exists.  Although Vivaldi may have exaggerated, in his dual role of composer and impresario, it is plausible that he may either have written or been responsible for the production of as many as ninety-four operas; during a career which by then had spanned almost twenty-five years.  While Vivaldi certainly composed many operas in his time, he never reached the prominence of other great composers like Alessandro Scarlatti, Johann Adolph Hasse, Leonardo Leo, and Baldassare Galuppi; as evidenced by his inability to keep a production running for any extended period of time in any major opera house.

His most successful operas were “La costanza trionfante” and “Farnace” which garnered six revivals each.


Mantua and the Four Seasons

LEFT: Caricature by P. L. Ghezzi, Rome (1723)

In 1717 or 1718, Vivaldi was offered a new prestigious position as Maestro di Cappella of the court of prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua.  He moved there for three years and produced several operas, among which was “Tito Manlio” (RV 738).  In 1721 he was in Milan, where he presented the pastoral drama “La Silvia” (RV 734, 9 arias survive).  He visited Milan again the following year with the oratorio “L’adorazione delli tre re magi al bambino Gesù” (RV 645, also lost).  In 1722 he moved to Rome, where he introduced his operas’ new style.  The new pope Benedict XIII invited Vivaldi to play for him.  In 1725, Vivaldi returned to Venice, where he produced four operas in the same year.

During this period Vivaldi wrote the “Four Seasons“, four violin concertos depicting scenes appropriate for each season.  Three of the concerti are of original conception, while the first, “Spring”; borrows motifs from a Sinfonia in the first act of his contemporaneous opera “Il Giustino“.  The inspiration for the concertos was probably the countryside around Mantua.  They were a revolution in musical conception – in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterised), barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, crying shepherds, storms, drunken dancers, silent nights, hunting parties from both the hunters’ and the prey’s point of view, frozen landscapes, ice-skating children, and warming winter fires.  Each concerto is associated with a sonnet, possibly by Vivaldi, describing the scenes depicted in the music.  They were published as the first four concertos in a collection of twelve, “Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione“, (The Contest between Harmony and Invention),Opus 8; published in Amsterdam by Michel-Charles Le Cène in 1725.

During his time in Mantua, Vivaldi became acquainted with an aspiring young singer Anna Tessieri Girò; who was to become his student, protégé, and favourite prima donna.  Anna, along with her older half-sister Paolina, became part of Vivaldi’s entourage and regularly accompanied him on his many travels.  There was speculation about the nature of Vivaldi’s and Giro’s relationship; but no evidence to indicate anything beyond friendship and professional collaboration.


Later Life and Death

At the height of his career, Vivaldi received commissions from European nobility and royalty.  The serenata (cantata) “Gloria e Imeneo” (RV 687), was commissioned in 1725 by the French ambassador to Venice; in celebration of the marriage of Louis XV.  The following year, another serenata, “La Sena festeggiante” (RV 694), was written for and premiered at the French embassy as well; celebrating the birth of the French royal princesses, Henriette and Louise Élisabeth.  Vivaldi’s Opus 9, “La Cetra“, was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI.  In 1728, Vivaldi met the emperor who was a great admirer of him; while he was visiting Trieste, to oversee the construction of a new port.  He gave Vivaldi the title of knight, a gold medal and an invitation to Vienna.  Vivaldi gave Charles a manuscript copy of La Cetra, that markedly differed from that published  as Opus 9.

LEFT: Frontispiece of “Il Teatro Alla Moda”

Accompanied by his father, Vivaldi travelled to Vienna and Prague in 1730, where his opera “Farnace” (RV 711) was presented.  Some of his later operas were created in collaboration with two of Italy’s major writers of the time.  “L’Olimpiade” and “Catone in Utica” were written by Pietro Metastasio, the major representative of the Arcadian movement and court poet in Vienna.  “La Griselda” was rewritten by the young Carlo Goldoni, from an earlier libretto by Apostolo Zeno.

Like many composers of the time, the final years of Vivaldi’s life found him in financial difficulties.  His compositions were no longer held in such high esteem as they once were in Venice; for changing musical tastes quickly made them outmoded. In response, Vivaldi chose to sell off significant numbers of his manuscripts at paltry prices; to finance his migration to Vienna.  The reasons for Vivaldi’s departure from Venice are unclear, but it seems likely that after the success of his meeting with Emperor Charles VI; he hoped to take up the position of a composer in the imperial court.

It is also likely that Vivaldi went to Vienna to stage operas, especially as he took up residence near the Kärntnertortheater.  Shortly after his arrival in Vienna, Charles VI died, which left the composer without any royal protection or a steady source of income.  Soon afterwards, Vivaldi became impoverished and died during the night of 27/28 July 1741, aged sixty-three, of “internal infection,” in a house owned by the widow of a Viennese saddle maker.  On 28 July he was buried in a simple grave in a burial ground, that was owned by the public hospital fund.  Vivaldi’s funeral that took place at St. Stephen’s Cathedral appeared rather frugal, as no music was performed on that occasion and only a modest peal of bells took place.

He was buried next to Karlskirche, in an area which is now part of the site of the Technical Institute.  The house where he lived in Vienna has since been destroyed; the Hotel Sacher is built on part of the site.  Memorial plaques have been placed at both locations, as well as a Vivaldi “star” in the Viennese Musikmeile and a monument at the Rooseveltplatz.

Only three portraits of Vivaldi are known to survive: an engraving, an ink sketch and an oil painting.  The engraving, by Francois Morellon La Cave, was made in 1725 and shows Vivaldi holding a sheet of music. The ink sketch, a caricature, was done by Ghezzi in 1723 and shows Vivaldi’s head and shoulders in profile. The oil painting, which can be seen in the Liceo Musicale of Bologna, gives us possibly the most accurate picture and shows Vivaldi’s red hair under his blonde wig.


Style and Influence

Vivaldi was influenced by the dominant forms performed in Italy at the time, especially the music of Corelli.  He was both experimental and innovative and played an important role in the development of Baroque music.  His dramatic conception of the role of the soloist was accepted and developed in the Classical concerto.

He made the Concerto more playful and flamboyant, giving the soloist more of a starring role as a virtuoso, and expanded the accepted forms of interplay between the solo and orchestral sections.

Some of his concertos were clearly programmatic in nature, meaning that they tell a story in music.  His most famous work, the Four Seasons is an obvious example because they contain storms, bird calls and other evocative events; that help to convey the different moods of the seasons of the year.  These programmatic notes were written into the relevant parts of the score; so the composer’s intention were very clear.

Most of his concertos are in the usual pattern of three movements as first used by Torelli: an Allegro, a slow movement in the same or closely related key and a final Allegro.

Above: Even Vivaldi learnt to cope with Acqua Alta

Though a few movements are found in the older fugal style, the texture is typically more “homophonic” (the dominance of a single melody over less obvious harmonic textures) than “contrapuntal” (defined by the use of multiple independent melodies, each of which is given equal weight; so does not elevate any musical theme over the others.

The formal scheme of the individual movements of Vivaldi’s concertos are the same as Torelli’s works: ritornellos for the full orchestra, alternating with episodes for the soloist.  However, unlike in Torelli’s concertos, the ritornellos are transposed to other keys in a movement; modulations confined to the soloist’s episodes.  To avoid monotony, he rearranges or shortens ritornellos for later uses in the movement.

Vivaldi established between solo and tutti a certain dramatic tension, the soloist became a dominating musical personality against the ensemble.  His dramatic conception of the role of the soloist was accepted and developed in the Classical concerto.

Qualities so characteristic of Vivaldi are: concise themes, clarity of form, rhythmic vitality, impelling logical continuity in the flow of musical ideas.  He thinks instrumentally and likes repeated patterns with slow harmonic change.  Thus, his instrumental thinking differs from Corelli’s lyrical melodies and Torelli’s angular lines.

He was the first composer to give the slow movement of a concerto equal importance with the two allegros.  Johann Sebastian Bach was deeply influenced by Vivaldi’s concertos and arias (recalled in his St. John Passion, St Matthew Passion, and cantatas).  Bach transcribed six of Vivaldi’s concerti for solo keyboard, three for organ, and one for four harpsichords, strings, and basso continuo (BWV 1065); based upon the concerto for four violins, two violas, cello, and basso continuo (RV 580).

In general Vivaldi’s concerto groups have Opus numbers, while individual works within the group or standalone works are identified by RV numbers (after Peter Ryom, a Danish scholar who catalogued the works).


Posthumous Reputation

During his lifetime, Vivaldi’s popularity quickly made him famous in other countries, including France; but after his death the composer’s popularity dwindled.  After the baroque period, Vivaldi’s published concerti became relatively unknown and were largely ignored.  Even Vivaldi’s most famous work, The Four Seasons, was unknown in its original edition during the Classical and Romantic periods.

During the early 20th century, Fritz Kreisler’s Concerto in C in the Style of Vivaldi (which he passed off as an original Vivaldi work), helped revive Vivaldi’s reputation.  This spurred the French scholar Marc Pincherle to begin an academic study of Vivaldi’s oeuvre.  Many Vivaldi manuscripts were rediscovered, which were acquired by the Turin National University Library, as a result of the generous sponsorship of Turinese businessmen Roberto Foa and Filippo Giordano in memory of their sons.  This led to a renewed interest in Vivaldi by, among others, Mario Rinaldi, Alfredo Casella, Ezra Pound, Olga Rudge, Desmond Chute, Arturo Toscanini, Arnold Schering and Louis Kaufman; all of whom were instrumental in the Vivaldi revival of the 20th century.

In 1926, in a monastery in Piedmont, researchers discovered fourteen folios of Vivaldi’s work that were previously thought to have been lost during the Napoleonic Wars.  Some missing volumes in the numbered set were discovered in the collections of the descendants of the Grand Duke Durazzo, who had acquired the monastery complex in the eighteenth century.  The volumes contained three hundred concertos, nineteen operas, and more than one hundred vocal-instrumental works.

The resurrection of Vivaldi’s unpublished works in the twentieth century is mostly due to the efforts of Alfredo Casella, who in 1939 organised the historic Vivaldi Week; in which the rediscovered Gloria (RV 589) and l’Olimpiade were revived.  Since World War II, Vivaldi’s compositions have enjoyed wide success.  Historically informed performances, often on “original instruments”, have increased Vivaldi’s fame still further.

Recent rediscoveries of works by Vivaldi, include two psalm settings of Nisi Dominus (RV 803, in eight movements) and Dixit Dominus (RV 807, in eleven movements). These were identified in 2003 and 2005 respectively, by the Australian scholar Janice Stockigt.  The Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot described RV 807 as “arguably the best non-operatic work from Vivaldi’s pen to come to light since . . . the 1920’s”.   Vivaldi’s lost 1730 opera Argippo (RV 697), was rediscovered in 2006 by the harpsichordist and conductor Ondřej Macek; whose Hofmusici orchestra performed the work at Prague Castle on 3 May 2008, its first performance since 1730.


Santa Maria della Pietà

The Church of Santa Maria della Pietà or della Visitazione is a prominent church and concert hall, sited on the “Riva degli Schiavoni”, in the district of Castello; a short walk from the Doge’s Palace and close to the San Zaccaria waterbus stop.  The Venetians call it “Vivaldi’s church“.

Its predecessor was attached to a charitable hospital run by the state for orphan girls founded in 1346 by a Franciscan monk, but became more secular over time, being under the patronage of the Doge from 1353, and governed by members of noble families.  The complex was enlarged in 1388, and modernised in 1493 and 1515.  Over the centuries it evolved into one of Europe’s top conservatories, especially when Vivaldi was chorus-master and violin teacher between 1704–38, composing some of his greatest concertos for its pupils.  The other Ospedali were the Mendicanti, the Incurabili and the Ospedaletto.

These pupils were not strictly what we would call ‘orphans’: most were the illegitimate daughters of the nobility’s mistresses.  Generously funded by their fathers, the ‘orphanage’ was opulent and the musical instruction was among the very best in Europe.  Under Vivaldi’s direction, the reputation and fame of La Pietà’s Ospedale grew so much that the authorities had to put up the plaque still in place on the south wall, threatening “lightning bolts and excommunication” upon any parent who tried to palm their legitimate child off as a orphan.

It was fashionable for visitors to attend one of La Pietà’s concerts, and leave a suitably large donation towards the good work.

One quote was from Charles de Brosses, French Magistrate and President of the Parlement de Dijon, who visited in 1739: “the Ospedali have the best music here.  There are four of them, and all for illegitimate or orphaned girls whose parents cannot support them.  These are brought up at the State’s expense and trained exclusively in music.  Indeed they sing like angels, play the violin, flute, organ, oboe, cello, bassoon… The performances are entirely their own and each concert is composed of about forty girls”.

History.  The current building dates from a rebuilding funded by a three-year lottery granted by the Council of Ten in 1727, and another in 1733 when the first didn’t reach its target.

In 1735,  the architect Giorgio Massari won the competitive tender, to build a new complex to include two hospital wings.  The new church was to perform the dual function of place of worship and auditorium.  By 1738 land clearance has begun and materials purchased.

The Church.  In 1744, part of the old orphanage was demolished and the orphans placed in foster homes.  Doge Pietro Grimani laid the foundation stone in 1745 and and the church was finally consecrated in 1760.  The church was on a new site adjacent to the site of the old oratory but the hospital wings that were planned were never built.  It was finished well after Vivaldi’s death, but it is said that the composer might have advised the architect Giorgio Massari, on the positioning of the choirs and the use of a vestibule to provide a barrier to the noises of the Riva.

The facade had only reached the level of the top of the  entrance door pediment; but was finally finished in 1906.  Massari’s original plan for the church and hospital, included three statues on the pediment; but there is only a cross.  These statues were to have been Faith at the apex, triumphing over Hope and Charity, as in Tiepolo’s fresco over the chancel inside.  Over the entrance  doorway is a large bas-relief depicting Charity;  from c.1913 by Emilio Marsili a Venetian sculptor.

Interior.  The interior is oval-shaped, like a concert hall and designed for acoustics; particularly for choral performance.  Decorated in luscious cream and gold, to some La Pietà gives the impression of being inside a Fabergé Easter egg.


The rococo furnishings, including the pulpit, the confessionals, the grills on the galleries and the organ case, are all to designs by Massari.  The roof was on by 1751 and Tiepolo was eventually contracted to start work on the ceiling decoration in 1754.   The largest of his three frescoes is  “The Coronation of the Virgin” on the ceiling in the nave, which also features girl musicians playing twelve different instruments.  On the ceiling of the chancel is the smaller oval “Triumph of Faith”, which depicts Faith triumphing over Hope and Charity; the virtues of the Virgin.  On the chancel’s end wall is a grisaille tondo of the old testament scene of David and the Angel.  The frescoes, Tiepolo’s last great religious fresco cycle, were unveiled in August 1755.

The chapel by Giovanni Maria Morlaiter ,with a precious tabernacle decorated with gilded bronze figures and at the sides, the Archangels Gabriel and Michael.   Giambattista Piazzetta was commissioned to paint the high altarpiece of The Visitation, but died in 1754 leaving it unfinished.  It was finished by one of his pupils, Giuseppe Angeli.  Piazetta’s pupils also supplied the altarpieces on the four nave altars.

The Vivaldi Museum.  In 2004, the church opened the “Piccolo Museo Antonio Vivaldi”, with a collection of Baroque instruments from the maestro’s time and documents on the life and rules of the orphanage.

There was a BBC documentary, Vivaldi’s Women, telling the story of Father Antonio’s remarkable 34-year collaboration with his female musicians.  Unfortunately it is no longer available on You-Tube.


Concerts.  In the evening, the ensemble  I Virtuosi Italiani frequently performs Vivaldi’s music in Vivaldi’s own church, with original Baroque instruments. Tickets (€26, reduced €22) are available at the church and online


Hours.  Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (church) – Adm €3.  Combined guided tour of the church and museum- €10 (noon, by reservation)

WEBSITE:    For info and reservations:  (Links Below)

TEL: +39 041 5222171 or +39 041 5237395


Besides La Pietà, you can hear Vivaldi’s music performed in other locations around Venice; including the deconsecrated churches of San Vidal and San Basso and the Scuola Grande San Teodoro.







Category of Art-Music-Literature 

Introduction – The Venetian School of Music  

19 – Museo della Musica


Website: Chiesa della Pieta

 For info and reservations:

TEL: +39 041 5222171 or +39 041 5237395


Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy    Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy    Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy    Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy

Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy    Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy    Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy    Antonio Vivaldi – Life and Legacy



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