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The birth of Vivaldian opera

Updated: Mar 9, 2022


The premiere of Ottone in a villa in Vicenza on May 17, 1713 marks the official beginning of Vivaldi's opera career. The red priest was then thirty-five years old. An advanced age compared to that of most of his peers when they debuted in the opera house. But an age consistent with his desire to focus his theatrical activity on Venice and establish a long-term presence there both as a composer and as an operatic entrepreneur.




"I had become the quintessential Venetian composer. In fact, my music reflected the atmosphere of the city, its architecture and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. The fame that I consolidated in Venice, initially as a soloist, soon spread abroad, reaching cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, London ... After my triumph as a composer of instrumental music, I concentrated my energy on opera.


In Vicenza I produced my first theatrical work, Ottone in villa, which I performed at the Olympic Theater; it was a great success that convinced me to write new works and not to neglect this so profitable artistic vein. As even detractors argued, money was my real obsession. I also discovered a particular talent in promoting my works, so I also became a successful impresario.

Before the turbulent period of my travels around Europe, I would have already composed The Four Seasons. I did not neglect any of the composer's tricks and tested all my skills as an orchestra master to paint pictures of perfect musical harmony. Each piece was introduced by a sonnet describing the particular season. In every concert I emphasized, with music, the most significant moments; the birdsong became a happy little trill, with the violins I announced the approach of thunder, the pizzicato describes the raindrops. The concerts of The Four Seasons would have become among the most beloved of the Baroque!"


Vivaldi, on the strength of his success, had no idea that he had just composed an absolute success in the history of music. At that time, the opera perfectly suited the criteria of Baroque music. But what intrigued the public most of the time were the camouflage patterns, very present in the Four Seasons. In all four concerts, one seems to recognize the sound of birds, a rumbling of storm, rain, wind or the heaviness of a hot summer.




Di Massimo, autore del tour "Vivaldi. What a joy it is to create!".

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