Antonio Lucio Vivaldi Biography The Four Seasons Spring
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi ( 1678 – 1741) Nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest"), was a Venetian Baroque composer, priest, and famous virtuoso violinist. He was born and raised in the Republic of Venice. Vivaldi is remembered today for the huge number of concerts that he has left, more than 550. In addition to the 73 sonatas, Vivaldi composed 223 concertos for violin and orchestra , 22 for two violins, cello 27, 39 for bassoon, 13 for oboe and many others for flute, viola d'amore, lute and mandolin. Today is one of the composers of baroque music interpreted more and more appreciated by the public. His fame is based primarily on several concerts for violin and orchestra that emerged from his prolific pen at the turn of the eighteenth century. His concerts can be considered innovative, He developed the solo concert which follows the pattern Allegro-Adagio-Allegro . This laid the foundation for the concerts of the classical period of Mozart and Beethoven.
Vivaldi’s most famous concerts: Il Cimento dell'Armonia e dell'Invenzione (12 Concerts), op. VIII Published by Michel Le Cène, Amsterdam, 1725. Dedicated to the Bohemian nobleman Count Wenzel von Morzin. Included in this work are his four famous concerts “The Four Seasons”. L'Estro armonico (12 Concerts for violin), op. III Published by Estienne Roger, Amsterdam, 1711. 12 concerts dedicated to Ferdinand III Grand Prince of Toscana La Stravaganza (12 Concerts for violin), op. IV Published by Estienne Roger, Amsterdam, 1713. Dedicated to Delfino Vettor, Venetian nobleman La Cetra (12 Concerts ), op. IX Published by Michel Le Cène, Amsterdam, 1727. Dedicated to the Emperor Charles VI.
But instrumental music was not his only interest: Vivaldi also made several vocal music compositions: 16 major motets for soloists, chorus and orchestra, 28 motets for one and two voices, and 3 speakers. The best known of his religious works are: Gloria in D major (1708), the Stabat Mater and the sacred military oratory Juditha Triumphans (1716) to celebrate the victory of the Venetian Republic over the Turks in the Greek island of Corfu. Vivaldi was also the author of 30 secular cantatas, several serenades and hundreds of arias. Some musicologists claim that Vivaldi composed 94 operas. But in fact, fewer than 50 titles have been identified, of which the scores of 20 or so operas survive, wholly or in part. All Vivaldi's works are described as dramma per musica , which is approximately equivalent to opera seria. The Four Seasons Summer
Vivaldi’s most famous operas: Ottone in Villa Vicenza, May 1713 Libretto by D. Lalli Arsilda, regina di Ponto S. Angelo, autumn 1716 Libretto di D. Lalli La Verità in cimento S. Angelo, autumn 1720 LIbretto di G. Palazzi - D. Lalli Giustino Capranica, Roma, carnival 1724 Libretto di N. Beregan - P. Pariati Orlando furioso S. Angelo, autumn 1727 Libretto di G. Braccioli Motezuma S. Angelo, autumn 1733 Libretto di G. Giusti Griselda S. Samuele, Venezia,1735 Libretto di A. Zeno - C. Goldoni Rosmira fedele S. Angelo, carnival 1738 Libretto basato su La Partenope di Silvio Stampiglia.
Biography Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678 in Venice , his parents were Giovanni Battista and Camilla Calicchio. He was baptized immediately at home due to “risk of death” as stated in the act of baptism, which was consecrated in the parish of San Giovanni in Bragora, Venice, two months later, ostensibly because the fragile constitution of Antonio. Probably suffering from asthma that was incurable, that "chest tightness" as he called himself, who tormented him throughout his life. The musical education of Antonio started with his father , a humble barber, but also a violinist in the orchestra of St. Mark's since 1685, who taught him to play the violin. Antonio showed his talent early on so that by the age of ten years was able to replace his father occasionally in the orchestra.
The Red Priest Anthony was the eldest of six children. The family was large and certainly not wealthy, Antonio decided to follow the ecclesiastical career, which offered some hope of social advancement. He entered the seminary, but probably because of his poor health, he was allowed to study privately and that allowed him to complete his musical education. The year 1703 was decisive for Vivaldi, on March 23 he was ordained a priest and thanks to the color of his hair, became universally known as the "Red Priest". But because of his breathing problems, after just over a year, Vivaldi was excused from the duty to impart mass. "I live mostly at home and not go out that gondola or carriage, because I can not walk for the breast evil I have (chest tightness)." due to his sickness, Antonio was able to devote himself to music with greater commitment and began to be famous. The Four Seasons Autumn
His years at Ospedale della Pietà (1703 – 1740) His musical career began at the orphanage “Ospedale della Pieta”, the most famous of the four orphanages for girls in the city, the other three were the Beggers , the Incurable, and the Saint Peter & Paul, where ample space was given to teaching music. Initially Vivaldi was a violinist and violin teacher, then was a choirmaster and later in 1716, He became "Maestro de Concerti”. The reputation of Venice as a musical center was one of the highest in Europe , due largely to its four conservatories of music. Beginning as charitable foundations they developed gradually as institutes of musical learning and by the early 1700’s their excellence was unrivalled. Charles de Brosses , French Magistrate and President of the Parliament of Dijon, who visited Italy in 1739 commented about these orphanages: “ They sing like angels, play the violin, flute, organ, oboe, cello, bassoon, the performances are entirely their own creation and each concert is composed of about forty girls.“
Antonio was able to devote himself to music with greater commitment and began to be famous. His concerts were given in different churches of Venice , where he was performing as a violin virtuoso impressing witnesses of the time. In 1705 he wrote the series “ Twelve trio sonatas Op. 1” , first collection published by him . In 1711 the reputation of Vivaldi goes beyond the boundaries of Italy: L'estro Armonico , Op. 3, a collection of twelve violin concertos was published in Amsterdam. This collection made a big hit across Europe. Johann Sebastian Bach transcribed a part of these concerts for keyboards. In 1717 Vivaldi temporarily left the Ospedale della Pietá to held the position of Kapellmeister at the residence of Prince Philip of Hesse Darmstadt in Mantova , the town in which lived from 1719 to 1722, which saw him stand out above all as a composer of opera.
Then he returned to Venice, where he worked at the conservatory for three years before he begin to travel again, due to his fame as a violinist and composer he was required from the major European courts and the publication of his numerous scores made him rich. He then devoted again to work on compositions and in 1725 He published the collection of concerts entitled “ Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'invenzione” , this work includes his four concerts: The Four seasons . Vivaldi played in the Austrian capital for the Emperor Charles VI, to whom he dedicated in 1727 his Op. 10 “ La Cetra ”. In January 1738 he went to Amsterdam where he directed the opening concert for the centenary of the Schouwburg Theater. In April 1740 Vivaldi finally left his post at the Ospedale della Pietà. The Four Seasons Winter
His Last Years In the summer of 1740, he decided to leave Venice and after a move to Dresden, where he played the famous "Concerts in Dresden, he moved to Vienna, hoping to regain his reputation there. Vivaldi perhaps was looking for the benevolence of the Austrian Emperor Charles VI to get the post of Kapellmeister in the Habsburg court. The fact is that the sudden death of his patron in Austria on October 20, before his arrival in Vienna, left himself without patrons and his purpose vanished. Antonio Vivaldi died of an "internal inflammation", July 28, 1741 , alone in Vienna, where he was buried in the cemetery of a hospital for the poor. Vivaldi immediately fell into oblivion after his death. The Red Priest was remembered more for his reputation as a virtuoso of the violin than for his great compositions. It was only thanks to the rediscovery of several Bach works that German musicologists discovered that Bach had taken the melody of a large number of concerts, some twenty, from Vivaldi, then the Red Priest fame as a great composer was again recognized.
The Rediscovery of Motezuma The existence of the opera "Motezuma" has long been known because its libretto survived, even inspiring Alejo Carpentier's 1974 novel, "Baroque Concert." Now, thanks to the efforts of a German musicologist, Steffen Voss, its score has also finally been found in 2002 in the newly discovered archives of the Berlin Singakademie. After World War II, the Berlin Singakademie's library, 5,100 manuscripts, were taken by the Red Army to the USSR. Eventually they ended up in Kiev, now in Ukraine, where it was discovered in 1999 and the government of Ukraine decided to return all the books from the Singakademie to their rightful owners. The “ Teatro di Sant'Angelo ” was an opera house in Venice, Italy. Located next to the Grand Canal, it opened in 1676. It was the venue for many plays by Carlo Goldoni and operas by Antonio Vivaldi and Baldassare Galuppi. Vivaldi worked there, and became its director in 1726.
The Opera Motezuma Music by Antonio Vivaldi, Librettist Luigi Giusti. Antonio Vivaldi’s Motezuma dramatizes the conflict between the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortés and the Aztec ruler Montezuma in 16 th century in Mexico. This exotic opera with its colorful score and dramatic effects is regarded as one of the high-points among Vivaldi’s late compositions. It is the first full opera ever written about the Americas. Synopsis The action takes place in around 1519 during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. ACT 1 Part of the Mexican lagoon that separates the Imperial Palace from the Spanish encampment. Following a devastating defeat at the hands of the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés, the Mexican ruler Montezuma laments his loss of power and honor . Concerto for two Oboes in A minor - Allegro
His wife, Mitrena, begs him to remain strong even in defeat. Their daughter, Teutile, reports that the Spanish invaders are looking for Montezuma. Montezuma is resolved to resist them. He gives Mitrena a dagger and tells her to kill both Teutile and himself if the Spaniards attempt to take them prisoner. Teutile is ready to die, also because she thinks that Ramiro, her lover and brother of Hernando has betrayed her. Hernando arrives and takes Teutile hostage . From his hiding place, Montezuma shoots Hernando with an arrow, then escapes by leaping into the lagoon. Wounded, Hernando orders his brother Ramiro to go in search of his assailant. Alone with Ramiro, Teutile accuses her lover of inveigling himself into her confidence merely to betray her for the sake of his personal glory. She demands that the Spaniards withdraw. Torn between his duty as a soldier and his love for Teutile, Ramiro chooses duty.
Ramiro now comes hurrying back and reports that Mitrena has arrived at the head of a fleet of armed boats. She wishes to speak to Hernando and asks to be granted a passage of safe conduct. She becomes involved in a violent argument with Hernando but nothing comes out from the discussion. Mitrena calls on the gods to protect Mexico against the Spanish tyrant and urges her fellow countrymen to rise up in revolt. The Mexican general Asprano reaffirms his willingness to fight. ACT 2 A public audience chamber, with two seats, in the Spanish camp. Teutile is worried about Ramiro and her father in the coming battle, but Asprano reassures her. Alone with Hernando, Ramiro reproaches his brother for treating Montezuma with unnecessary harshness. But Hernando does not understand Ramiro's magnanimity.
Mitrena seeks a decisive confrontation: she describes how the Spanish have brought civilization to her country but how they have also mistreated the Mexicans, duping them and ultimately breaking all their laws. If Hernando and his soldiers do not leave Mexico, they will have a life and death struggle on their hands. Hernando arrogantly insists on his right to defend himself. He releases Montezuma in order to be able to face him in single combat. Hernando and Montezuma finally face each other on the battlefield . As they are fighting, Montezuma's strength fails him and he calls for help from his soldiers, who overwhelm Hernando. Teutile begs Ramiro to leave Mexico for the sake of his own safety, pointing out that Hernando is now in Montezuma's power. But Ramiro is bent on vengeance, and at his command the Spanish soldiers set fire to the Mexicans' canoes. In utter despair, Teutile is on the point of throwing herself into the flames , but Mitrena restrains her. Flute Concert in F major Op.10 No.1 La Tempesta di Mare
Asprano arrives and announces that the oracle of the gods demands that Teutile and a Spaniard be sacrificed in order to restore peace to the country. Though overcome by grief, Mitrena finally agrees to this. In her eyes, Hernando is the Spaniard who must be sacrificed with Teutile as he has drawn down upon himself the wrath of the gods. She gives orders to set in fire the tower in which Hernando is imprisoned. ACT 3 A remote part of the city with a tower. Ramiro and his soldiers free Hernando from the tower . They hide when Montezuma is seen approaching. Montezuma discovers that the guards have been killed and that the door is open. He goes into the tower, whereupon Ramiro bolts the door behind him and leaves with his soldiers. Asprano arrives with a group of Mexican soldiers. The men set fire to the building in keeping with Mitrena's orders. To his horror, Asprano sees his king high up in the tower.
The priests lead Teutile to the altar in order to sacrifice her to their gods. Dismayed, Asprano arrives and reports having seen not Hernando but Montezuma in the burning tower. Ramiro forces his way into the temple at the head of a party of soldiers and rescues Teutile. Alone, Mitrena realizes that her gods no longer have any power. In her despair she resolves to take her own life, but suddenly Montezuma appears. He has escaped from the tower by means of a secret passage. Husband and wife are ready to die, but first they mean to be avenged. The chorus celebrates Hernando’s victory . He tells the Mexicans that they now have a new king and new gods. He has won the throne not for himself but for Spain. Concerto for two Mandolins in G - Allegro
Montezuma and Mitrena slip in and attack Hernando and Ramiro but are disarmed by Teutile and Asprano. Hernando shows magnanimity : they shall continue to rule in Mexico as vassals of the Spanish king. He announces his intention of returning home but will leave Ramiro behind as a hostage after his brother and Teutile are married. Ramiro declares that this sacrifice is what the oracle has demanded, whereupon Montezuma and Mitrena agree to the marriage. Montezuma sees Mexico rise up from the ashes , and the chorus celebrates the lovers' union.
E N D References: http://www.haendel.it/compositori/vivaldi.htm http://www.longbeachopera.org/archive/2009-season/motezuma AVM 040410