Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Donald Macleod examines the many mantles this multifaceted composer assumed during his lifetime.

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01*2008042120090706

The story of the 20th century Vivaldi renaissance.

Kreisler: Concerto in C for violin and string orchestra with organ 'in the style of Vivaldi' (Finale: Allegro assai)

Gil Shaham (violin)

Robert Wolinsky (organ)

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Motet: In furore iustissimae irae, RV 626

Sandrine Piau (soprano)

Stefano Montanari (violin)

Accademia Bizantina

Ottavio Dantone (conductor)

Trio in C for violin, lute and basso continuo, RV 82

Rolf Lislevand (lute)

Manfred Kraemer (violin)

Beatrice Pornon (theorbo)

Eduardo Eguez (guitar battente)

Guido Morini (positif organ)

Dixit Dominus, RV 807

Roberta Invernizzi, Lucia Cirillo (sopranos)

Sara Mingardo (contralto)

Paul Agnew, Thomas Cooley (tenors)

Kornerscher Sing-Verein Dresden

Dresden Instrumental-Concert

A look at Vivaldi's musical catalogue, focusing on the 20th century Vivaldi renaissance.

Donald Macleod explores Vivaldi's large and little-heard musical catalogue, revealing an energetic and diverse composer.

He explores the story of the 20th-century Vivaldi renaissance.

Robert Wolinsky (organ/conductor)

naive OP 30416, Trs 1-4

Astree E 8587, Trs 7-9

Archiv 00289 477 6145, Trs 1-11.

01The Forgotten Baroque Master20110926

Donald Macleod explores the music of Vivaldi, presenting works including the Four Seasons.

Donald Macleod begins his story of an unconventional priest and composer, who wrote The Four Seasons, and was rediscovered in the twentieth century as one of the most important musical figures of his age.

01The Pieta20141222

Donald Macleod introduces the life and music of the Venetian priest, feted in his lifetime as both composer and violinist, yet destined to die in obscurity in faraway Vienna.

Antonio Vivaldi's name is now inextricably linked with Venice's charitable institution the Ospedale della Pietà, where the female residents benefitted from his skills as composer, violinist, teacher and impresario. As a boy, Vivaldi was taught by his father, inheriting both his red hair and his skill as a violinist. Young Antonio was soon to be seen deputising for his father in the orchestra of the Basilica of St. Mark's. As the eldest son in a poor family, Vivaldi was destined for the priesthood, and he was ordained in 1703. Combining the careers of musician and priest wasn't unusual at the time, and that same year Vivaldi was appointed violin teacher at the Pietà. Donald Macleod presents a selection of music Vivaldi wrote specially tailored to display the dazzling array of talents offered by the girls of the Pietà including an ensemble concerto for two recorders, two oboes, bassoon and two violins. He also introduces a concerto from Vivaldi's op.3 - the first collection to make his name outside Italy and regarded as the most influential music publication of the first half of the eighteenth century.

01Vivaldi And Venice20130318

Donald Macleod focuses on the relationship between Vivaldi and his home city of Venice.

As part of Baroque Spring, a month long season of Baroque music and culture, Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Vivaldi, beginning with the relationship between composer and his home town of Venice.

As Friedrich Nietzsche put it, "When I search for a word to replace that of Music, I can think only of Venice." Vivaldi lived in Venice almost his entire life and had fingers in many Venetian pies: he played the violin at St Mark's, wrote sacred music for services and festivals at some of the hundreds of churches, convents and oratories in the city, provided operas for the famous Carnival and taught at the Pieta. This week - the story of the perfect storm: one of the most prolific composers the world has ever known, born (during an earthquake) into the most musical city in Europe.

01Vivaldi The Impresario20171009

Donald Macleod journeys through Vivaldi's early operatic successes.

Donald Macleod journeys through Vivaldi's early operatic successes

As part of the BBC's opera season, Composer of the Week takes a look behind the curtain and onto the stage exploring the world of Antonio Vivaldi's operas. Vivaldi was one of the most original and influential Italian composers of his generation, and his music travelled far past the boundaries of his native Italy. He was considered an innovator in the art of violin technique and concerto writing, and yet he said himself that during his career he wrote nearly one hundred operas in total, though few have survived today. Vivaldi not only composed for the stage and performed in theatre orchestras, but he also became something of an impresario managing many aspects of opera productions. This week Donald Macleod is joined by Professor Eric Cross to lift the veil on this lesser known operatic side of the creator of the famed Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi.

Vivaldi's fame travelled far and wide as a virtuoso violinist and a composer of concertos. So when he entered the world of opera as a composer, audiences expected something amazing. He wasn't new to the world of the stage, having performed as a theatre musician for many years. However, his first operatic work 'Ottone in villa' was not the innovative spectacle people looked for. Vivaldi went on to revise this work, tightening up the deficiencies as he saw them. By the time he composed his 'L'incornazione di Dario' in 1717, Vivaldi was clearly demonstrating his ability to create drama in music. It was during the same early period that Vivaldi was also becoming far more of a businessman in the theatre world.

Sinfonia in C major, RV729 (Ottone in villa)
L'Arte dell'Arco
Christopher Hogwood, director

Ottone in villa, RV729 (Act 1 Sc's 9-11)
Cleonilla.... Susan Gritton (soprano)
Caio Silio.... Nancy Argenta (soprano)
Tullia.... Sophie Daneman (soprano)
Collegium Musicum 90
Richard Hickox, conductor

Concerto No 8 in A minor, RV522
The English Concert
Trevor Pinnock, director

L'incornazione di Dario, RV719 (Act 3 Sc's 8-15)
Alinda.... Roberta Mameli (soprano)
Arpago.... Sofia Soloviy (soprano)
Oronte.... Lucia Cirillo (mezzo-soprano)
Statira.... Sara Mingardo (alto)
Argene.... Delphine Galou (alto)
Flora.... Giuseppina Bridelli (alto)
Dario.... Anders Dahlin (tenor)
Niceno.... Riccardo Novaro (baritone)
Accademia Bizantina
Ottavio Dantone, director

Producer Luke Whitlock.

01Vivaldi The Virtuoso Violinist2005103120070102

Concerto in Bm, RV 386

Giuliano Carmignola (baroque violin)

Venice Baroque Orchestra

Andrea Marcon (conductor)

Trio Sonata in E flat for two violins and violone/continuo, Op 1, No 7, RV 65

Ingrid Seifert, Richard Gwilt (violin)

Terence Charlston (harpsichord)

Concerto in Gm for two violins and cello, Op 3, No 2, RV 578

Elizabeth Wilcock, Monica Huggett (solo violin)

Susan Sheppard (cello)

The Academy of Ancient Music

Christopher Hogwood (conductor)

Vengo a voi, luci adorate, RV 682

Catherine Bott

Players from the New London Consort

Philip Pickett (conductor)

Sonata in C for violin and continuo, Op 2, No 6

Walter Reiter (violin)

Cordaria.

0220051107

02*2008042220090707

An examination of the claim that Vivaldi merely rewrote the same concerto many times over.

Donald Macleod considers whether there is truth in the claim, once made by the Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola, that Vivaldi did not write hundreds of different concertos, but actually wrote the same concerto many times over.

Concerto in C for two trumpets, strings and basso continuo, RV 537

Gabriele Cassone, Luca Marzana (trumpets)

Zefiro

Alfredo Bernardini (conductor)

naive E 8679, Trs 1-3

Concerto in A for for strings, RV 158

Collegium Musicum 90

Simon Standage (conductor)

Chaconne CHAN 0867, Trs 1-3

Concerto in F for recorder, oboe, violin, bassoon and basso continuo, RV 98 (La tempesta di mare)

Michael Schneider (recorder)

Hans-Peter Westermann (oboe)

Mary Utiger (violin)

Michael McCraw (bassoon)

Rainer Zipperling (cello)

Harald Hoeren (harpsichord)

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi RD77156, Trs 4-6

Concerto in B minor for four violins, cello, strings and basso continuo, RV 580

John Holloway, Monica Huggett, Catherine Mackintosh, Elizabeth Wilcock (violin)

Susan Sheppard (cello)

Academy of Ancient Music

Christopher Hogwood (conductor)

L'Oiseau-Lyre 410 553-2, Tr 2

Concerto in E flat for bassoon, strings and continuo, RV 483

Klaus Thunemann (bassoon)

I Musici

Philips 416 355-2, Trs 7-9

Concerto in C for violin, two string orchestras and basso continuo, RV 581 (Per la santissima assontione di Maria Vergine)

Antonio de Secondi (violin)

Concerto Italiano

Rinaldo Alessandrini (conductor)

naive/Opus 111 OP 30383, Trs 26-28.

02Opera Impresario20141223

Donald Macleod introduces music from two of Vivaldi's earliest successful operatic productions which opened up new job opportunities outside of Venice.

Vivaldi took over the running of the small Venetian theatre of San Angelo, firstly producing works by other composers, but in the 1714-15 season, he made his own operatic debut in Venice there. Vivaldi was soon in demand at another theatre, placing him in a very powerful position within Venice's operatic life. New opportunities opened up beyond the shores of the Republic and, in 1718, Vivaldi travelled to the court of Mantua where he took up the position of music director. There he was able to take full advantage of the court orchestra with its rich variety of instruments.

Donald Macleod introduces music from two of the operas which helped establish his reputation, a dramatic solo cantata typical of the kind of thing Vivaldi composed for singers to perform during the long operatic off-season, and an example of a chamber concerto that may have been intended for the virtuoso members of the Mantuan court orchestra.

02Starting Out In Venice2011092720151228 (R3)

Donald Macleod sees Vivaldi embark on a professional relationship that will dominate the rest of his career, and take his first tentative steps into the perilous world of opera.

Vivaldi: La Stravaganza, Concerto No.12 in G RV.298 (3. Allegro)

Rachel Podger (violin), Arte Dei Suonatori Baroque Orchestra

Vivaldi: Bassoon Concerto in B flat, RV.503

I Musici, Klaus Thunemann (bassoon)

Vivaldi: Juditha triumphans: Mundi rector de caelo micanti

Magdalena Kozena (mezzo, Juditha), Anke Herrmann (soprano, Abra), Academia Montis Regalis, Coro Giovanile dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma, directed by Alessandro De Marchi

Vivaldi: Orlando finto pazzo (Act 1, Scene 1-4)

Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano, Ersilla), Marina Comparato (mezzo, Tigrinda), Sonia Prina (contralto, Origille), Manuela Custer (mezzo, Argillano), Martin Oro (counter tenor, Grifone), Marianna Pizzolato (mezzo, Brandimarte), Academia Montis Regalis, Coro del Teatro Regio di Torino, directed by Alessandro de Marchi

Vivaldi: L'estro armonico: Concerto No.8 in A minor RV.522

Elizabeth Wilcock (violin), Micaela Comberti (violin), The English Concert, directed by Trevor Pinnock.

Donald Macleod on how Vivaldi took on a prestigious teaching job and delved into opera.

02Vivaldi And The Pieta20130319

Donald Macleod on Vivaldi's relationship with the Pieta, a convent and music school.

As part of Baroque Spring, a month long season of Baroque music and culture, Donald Macleod explores the life and works of Vivaldi.

Venice was famous for its Ospedali, foundations set up to take care of orphaned or otherwise unwanted children. Vivaldi had a long relationship with the Pieta, which took in girls and trained them in domestic skills and in music-making. Vivaldi was employed as a violin teacher, and was soon writing music for the girls to sing and play too. Very quickly, no trip to Venice was complete without attending a service or performance at the Pieta. As one visitor wrote home, "it leads in the perfection of symphonic music.. they play the violin, the recorder, the organ, the oboe, the cello, the bassoon, in short, there is no instrument large enough to frighten them..".

02Vivaldi At The Mantuan Court20171010

Donald Macleod follows Vivaldi during his period at the court in Mantua.

Donald Macleod follows Vivaldi during his period at the court in Mantua

As part of the BBC's opera season, Composer of the Week takes a look behind the curtain and onto the stage exploring the world of Antonio Vivaldi's operas. Vivaldi was one of the most original and influential Italian composers of his generation, and his music travelled far past the boundaries of his native Italy. He was considered an innovator in the art of violin technique and concerto writing, and yet he said himself that during his career he wrote nearly one hundred operas in total, though few have survived today. Vivaldi not only composed for the stage and performed in theatre orchestras, but he also became something of an impresario managing many aspects of opera productions. This week Donald Macleod is joined by Professor Eric Cross to lift the veil on this lesser known operatic side of the creator of the famed Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi.

From 1718 until 1720, Antonio Vivaldi served the exceedingly God-fearing Prince of Darmstadt at the Mantuan Court. During this period he composed a number of cantatas, and also operas specifically to be premiered in Mantua at the Arciducale theatre, including Tuezzone which was a huge success. Further works for Mantua included Tito Manlio and La Candace, although Vivaldi maintained close links with other cities including Milan and Venice. Vivaldi's operatic career flourished in Mantua, yet disaster struck in 1720 with the death of the Empress in Vienna. All theatres were closed, and Vivaldi soon decided to return to Venice.

Overture, RV699 (Armida al campo d'Egitto)
I Solisti Veneti
Claudio Scimone, director

Tuezzone, RV736 (Act 3, Sc 1)
Cino.... Roberta Mameli (soprano)
Zelinda.... Delphine Galou (contralto)
Le Concert des Nations
Jordi Savall, director

Tito Manlio, RV738 (Act 3, Sc's 1-4)
Manlio.... Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Servilia.... Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)
Lucio.... Deborah Beronesi (mezzo-soprano)
Vitellia.... Marijana Mijanovic (contralto)
Lindo.... Christian Senn (bass-baritone)
Accademia Bizantina
Ottavo Dantone, director

Cessate, omai cessate, RV684
Andreas Scholl, countertenor
Ensemble 415
Chiara Banchini, director

Producer Luke Whitlock.

02Vivaldi The Priest2005110120070103

Donald Macleod takes a look at Vivaldi in his guise as priest, and finds that though the composer himself may have often acted in a manner that was less than saintly, his sacred music leaves little cause for reproach.

Laudate Dominum, RV 606

Choir of the King's Consort and the King's Consort

Robert King (director)

Clarae Stellae, Scintillate, RV 625

Sara Mingardo (contralto)

Concerto Italiano

Rinaldo Alessandrini (conductor)

L'Autunno (Autumn) from the Four Seasons - Concerto in F, Op 8, No 3, RV 293

Guiliano Carmignola (baroque violin)

Andrea Marcon (harpsichord/director)

Venice Baroque Orchestra

Gloria, RV 589

Deborah York, Patrizia Biccire (soprano)

Akademia, Concerto Italiano

0320051108

03*2008042320090708

Donald Macleod explores Orlando Furioso, considered by many to be Vivaldi's operatic masterpiece, and written during a lifetime devoted to working in this form.

Orlando Furioso, RV 728 (1st mvt)

Matheus

Jean-Christophe Spinosi (conductor)

Orlando Furioso (excerpts from Act 1)

Angelica....Veronica Cangemi (soprano)

Alcina....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)

Astolfo....Lorenzo Regazzo (bass-baritone)

Bradamante....Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)

Orlando....Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto)

Orlando Furioso (Act 1, Scene 11)

Ruggiero....Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)

Orlando Furioso (Act 2, Scenes 11-13)

Medoro....Blandine Staskiewicz (mezzo-soprano)

Choeur Les Elements

naive/Opus 111 OP 30393, CD1 Tr 1

naive/Opus 111 OP 30393, CD1, Trs 5, 7, 9, 11, 13

naive/Opus 111 OP 30393, CD1, Tr 24

naive/Opus 111 OP 30393, CD 2, Trs 22-35.

Exploring Orlando Furioso, considered by many to be Vivaldi's operatic masterpiece.

03Acceptance In Rome20141224

Donald Macleod introduces music associated with a devoted follower of Vivaldi's from Dresden, and influential patrons in Rome.

As Vivaldi's reputation began to spread across Europe, musicians from far and wide made a point of visiting him in Venice. One such was Johann Georg Pisendel, a distinguished violinist from the Dresden court who studied with Vivaldi. On his return he ensured Vivaldi's concertos formed a central role in the repertoire of the court orchestra. Offers of work came in from elsewhere, including Rome, and Vivaldi soon found himself on the invitation lists of some of the most powerful and influential princes and cardinals, including the music-loving Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. Donald Macleod introduces a sonata from a collection owned by the Cardinal, an excerpt from an opera premiered in Rome and a concerto dedicated to the faithful Pisendel's employer at the court of Dresden.

03Vivaldi And Anna20130320

Donald Macleod focuses on Vivaldi's relationship with singer Anna Giro.

As part of Baroque Spring, a month long season of Baroque music and culture, Donald Macleod explores the life and works of Vivaldi.

Vivaldi met the singer Anna Giro during a trip to Mantua and they quickly became inseparable. He wrote role after role for her, and they toured for months at a time, putting on operas as they went, with Anna in the starring role. According to Vivaldi's librettist, she "did not have a beautiful voice, nor was she a great musician, but she was pretty and attractive, she acted well and had protectors: one needs nothing more to deserve the role of a prima donna.".

03Vivaldi Is Presented To The Pope20171011

Donald Macleod surveys Vivaldi's success in Rome.

Donald Macleod surveys Antonio Vivaldi's successes in Rome

As part of the BBC's opera season, Composer of the Week takes a look behind the curtain and onto the stage exploring the world of Antonio Vivaldi's operas. Vivaldi was one of the most original and influential Italian composers of his generation, and his music travelled far past the boundaries of his native Italy. He was considered an innovator in the art of violin technique and concerto writing, and yet he said himself that during his career he wrote nearly one hundred operas in total, though few have survived today. Vivaldi not only composed for the stage and performed in theatre orchestras, but he also became something of an impresario managing many aspects of opera productions. This week Donald Macleod is joined by Professor Eric Cross to lift the veil on this lesser known operatic side of the creator of the famed Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi.

Vivaldi returned to Venice in 1720 where he continued to work for the Ospedale. He also threw himself into Venetian theatrical life, now casting his own singers for his stage productions. By 1723 his opera 'Ercole' was premiered in Rome and was a big hit. Vivaldi was invited to compose for the 1723 Carnival season in Rome, where he presented them with his new opera 'Giustino'. This was another success and soon the composer found himself not only presented to the Pope, but also commissioned to compose music for the wedding of Louis XV of France. Further opera successes came Vivaldi's way including 'Farnace' and 'Orlando furioso', although these were both premiered in Venice and included a particular singer the composer had now taken an interest in, Anna Giro.

Sento in seno ch'in pioggia di lagrime (Giustino, Act 2 scene 1)
Nathalie Stutzmann, contralto and conductor
Orfeo 55

Sorte, che m'invitasti....Ho nel petto un cor sì forte (Giustino, Act 2 scene 13)
Nathalie Stutzmann, contralto and conductor
Orfeo 55

Farnace (Act 3, scenes 8-12)
Gilade.... Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Tamiri.... Ruxandra Donose (mezzo-soprano)
Berenice.... Mary Ellen Nesi (mezzo-soprano)
Selinda.... Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)
Farnace.... Max Emanuel Cencic (countertenor)
Pompeo.... Daniel Behle (tenor)
Choir or Swiss Radio and Television, Lugano
I Barocchisti
Diego Fasolis, conductor

Orlando furioso (Act 2, scenes 4-6)
Angelica.... Veronica Cangemi (soprano)
Orlando.... Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto)
Medoro.... Blandine Staskiewicz (mezzo-soprano)
Ruggiero.... Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)
Ensemble Matheus
Jean-Christophe Spinosi, director

Violin Concerto in A minor, RV358
Simon Standage, violin
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, director

Producer Luke Whitlock.

03Vivaldi The Teacher2005110220070104

In this persona, Vivaldi is best known for his long association with the Pieta, the girls' orphanage where the talents of the pupils scaled astonishing peaks of accomplishment.

Sonata in C (Salmoe) for oboe, violin, organ and chalumeau, RV 779

Paul Goodwin (oboe)

John Holloway (baroque violin)

Colin Lawson (chalumeau)

John Toll (organ)

Concerto in G for 2 mandolins, strings and harpsichord, RV 532

Ugo Orlandi, Dorina Frati (mandolin)

I Solisti Veneti

Claudio Scimone (conductor)

Sposa son disprezzata (excerpt from Tamerlano/Bajazet)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo)

György Fischer (piano)

Sinfonia for Strings in G, RV 149

Academy of Ancient Music

Andrew Manze (conductor)

Dresden Sonata in Dm, RV 15

Fabio Biondi (violin)

Maurizio Naddeo (cello)

Rinaldo.

03Years Of Travel2011092820151229 (R3)

Having won over his home crowd in Venice, Vivaldi set out to capitalise on his growing fame by finding work and influential patrons abroad. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Vivaldi: Aria - Dell'alma superba (Serenata a tre, RV 690)

Ernesto Palacio (tenor), I Solisti Veneti, directed by Claudio Scimone

Vivaldi: Tito Manlio, Act 2, Scene 1: Non ti lusinghi la crudeltade

Emma Kirkby (soprano, Lucio), The Brandenburg Consort, directed by Roy Goodman

Vivaldi Sonata No.11 in E flat RV.756

Andrew Manze (violin), Nigel North (archlute), John Toll (harpsichord)

Vivaldi: Magnificat RV.610b

Emily Van Evera (soprano), Nancy Argenta (soprano), Alison Place (mezzo), Catherine King (mezzo), Margaret Cable (contralto), The Taverner Choir and Players, directed by Andrew Parrott

Vivaldi: Concerto Op.8 No.3 'l'autunno' RV.293

Antonio De Secondi (violin), Concerto Italiano, directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini.

Donald Macleod on how Venice's favourite composer set his sights beyond his home city.

Having won over his home crowd in Venice, Vivaldi set out to capitalise on his growing fame by finding work and influential patrons abroad.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

042011092920151230 (R3)

Vivaldi was ordained a priest, but he eschewed the altar for the opera stage and set up home with his favourite soprano and her sister. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Vivaldi: Gloria RV589 (opening)

John Alldis Choir, English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Vittorio Negri

Vivaldi: La fida ninfa (trio from Act 1)

Sandrine Piau (soprano, Licori), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto, Elpina), Topi Lehtipuu (tenor, Narete), Ensemble Matheus, directed by Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Vivaldi: Orlando furioso: Act II Scene 11: Cosi potessi anch'io

Jennifer Larmore (mezzo, Alcina), Ensemble Matheus, directed by Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Vivaldi: Concerto in A minor RV445

Michala Petri (sopranino recorder), I Solisti Veneti, directed by Claudio Scimone

Vivaldi: Laudate pueri, Dominum RV601.

Catherine Bott (soprano), Stephen Preston (flute), The Purcell Quartet.

04Celebrity20141225

Donald Macleod introduces two notorious events: the Venetian debut of the singer with whom Vivaldi became infamously associated, and the publication of The Four Seasons.

1725 was an important year for Vivaldi. He once again took over running the San Angelo Theatre in Venice where he oversaw the debut of a young singer whose name was to become inextricably, and rather scandalously, linked with his. At the same time, his collection of concertos entitled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione was published. It contained a set of 4 concertos known collectively as The Four Seasons, destined to become one of the most popular works of all time. The set were particularly fashionable in Paris where the young Louis XV insisted upon a command performance of the Spring Concerto at Versailles. Alongside the concerto, which famously evokes the icy blasts of winter, Donald Macleod introduces part of a grand serenata Vivaldi composed as a paean of praise to France, a sonata for cello - an instrument for which Vivaldi had a particular empathy, and an excerpt from one of the operas in which Vivaldi's protégé, Anna Giraud, first tread the boards at the San Angelo Theatre.

04Impresario20110929

Donald Macleod focuses on why Vivaldi eschewed the altar for the opera stage.

Vivaldi was ordained a priest, but he eschewed the altar for the opera stage and set up home with his favourite soprano and her sister.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

04La Chiesa20130321

Donald Macleod focuses on the sacred music of Vivaldi. Includes Gloria, RV589.

As part of Baroque Spring, a month long season of Baroque music and culture, Donald Macleod explores the sacred music of Vivaldi.

For a small city, Venice in the eighteenth century was teeming with churches, convents and oratories. It's estimated that 1 in 20 adult Venetians was a priest or a nun, and that included Vivaldi himself. His two careers, as musician and priest, ran side by side for his whole life (although he applied himself to one with rather more enthusiasm than the other). The result was a collection of glorious music for use in Church, where huge congregations would gather and unable to applaud, would show their appreciation of the music of the Maestro by shuffling their feet and coughing.

04Vivaldi Becomes Unfashionable20171012

Donald Macleod surveys the 1730s when Vivaldi's opera became old-fashioned.

Donald Macleod surveys the 1730s when Vivaldi's opera became old-fashioned

As part of the BBC's opera season, Composer of the Week takes a look behind the curtain and onto the stage exploring the world of Antonio Vivaldi's operas. Vivaldi was one of the most original and influential Italian composers of his generation, and his music travelled far past the boundaries of his native Italy. He was considered an innovator in the art of violin technique and concerto writing, and yet he said himself that during his career he wrote nearly one hundred operas in total, though few have survived today. Vivaldi not only composed for the stage and performed in theatre orchestras, but he also became something of an impresario managing many aspects of opera productions. This week Donald Macleod is joined by Professor Eric Cross to lift the veil on this lesser known operatic side of the creator of the famed Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi.

During the late 1720s Antonio Vivaldi was at the height of his career. By this time he'd been presented to the Pope, composed music for the wedding of Louis XV of France, and was now spending much time in conversation with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. However, new fashions were emerging in the world of opera, pioneered by composers such as Hasse, Leo and Porpora. Yet Vivaldi's stage works were still popular currency in Europe, including the premiere of his La fida ninfa in Verona in 1732. Vivaldi during this period became aware that trends in opera were changing. In order to combat this and retain interest in his music, Vivaldi turned to popular librettos at the time, including L'Olimpiade by Metastasio.

Con la face di Megera (Semiramide, Act 3 Sc 2)
Lorenzo Regazzo, bass
Concerto Italiano
Rinaldo Alessandrini, director

La fida ninfa, RV714 (Act 1 Sc 7-9)
Licori.... Sandrine Piau (soprano)
Elphina.... Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto)
Osmino.... Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)
Ensemble Matheus
Jean-Christophe Spinosi, director

Violin Concerto in E flat major, Op 8 No 5, RV253 (La tempesta di mare)
The Academy of Ancient Music
Andrew Manze, director

L'Olimpiade, RV725 (Act 1 Sc 8-10)
Megacle.... Roberta Invernizzi (soprano)
Licida.... Sara Mingardo (contralto)
Aristea.... Sonia Prina (contralto)
Concerto Italiano
Rinaldo Alessandrini, director

Producer Luke Whitlock.

04Vivaldi The Impresario20051103

Though the composer's eye to the main chance was always wide open when it came to making money, it was largely in the cut-throat arena of opera production that he chose to concentrate his entrepreneurial spirit.

Agitata da due venti (excerpt from Griselda)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo soprano)

Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca

Concerto in F for violin, two oboes, bassoon, two horns and strings, RV 574

The King's Consort

Robert King (conductor)

Excerpt from Orlando Finto Pazzo

Orlando....Antonio Abete (bass)

Argillano....Manuela Custer (mezzo soprano)

Coro del Teatro Regio di Torino

Academia Montis Regalis

Alessandro De Marchi (conductor)

Excerpts from La Verita in Cimento

Rosane....Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano)

Zelim....Philippe Jaroussky (counter tenor)

Melindo....Sara Mingardo (contralto)

Ensemble Matheus

Jean-Christopher Spinosi (conductor)

Del destin non vi lagnate - from L'Olimpiade

Clistene....Riccardo Novaro (baritone)

Concerto Italiano

Rinaldo Alessandrini (conductor)

Se mai senti spirarti sul volto, from Catone in Utica

Emma Kirkby (soprano)

The Brandenburg Consort

Roy Goodman (conductor).

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05A Pauper's Funeral2011093020151231 (R3)

It's a mystery why the elderly Vivaldi chose to abandon his home in Venice, ending his days poverty-stricken in a foreign land. Donald Macleod investigates.

Vivaldi

Concerto in F, RV574

The King's Consort, directed by Robert King

Concerto funebre in Bflat, RV579

Europa Galante, directed by Fabio Biondi

Griselda (Opening of Act II)

Carla Huhtanen (soprano, Costanza), Lynne McMurtry (mezzo, Roberto), Jason Nedecky (baritone, Corrado), Aradia Ensemble, conducted by Kevin Mallon

Concerto in C, RV558

The Academy of Ancient Music, directed by Andrew Manze.

05Vivaldi's Late Operas20171013

Donald Macleod delves into Antonio Vivaldi's late works for the stage.

Donald Macleod delves into Antonio Vivaldi's late works for the stage

As part of the BBC's opera season, Composer of the Week takes a look behind the curtain and onto the stage exploring the world of Antonio Vivaldi's operas. Vivaldi was one of the most original and influential Italian composers of his generation, and his music travelled far past the boundaries of his native Italy. He was considered an innovator in the art of violin technique and concerto writing, and yet he said himself that during his career he wrote nearly one hundred operas in total, though few have survived today. Vivaldi not only composed for the stage and performed in theatre orchestras, but he also became something of an impresario managing many aspects of opera productions. This week Donald Macleod is joined by Professor Eric Cross to lift the veil on this lesser known operatic side of the creator of the famed Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi.

Vivaldi had become aware that his final stage works were competing with new trends in the world of opera. In a bid to combat this he turned to popular librettos by Metastasio and Zeno. Vivaldi also started to write showcase arias full of vocal pyrotechnics to bedazzle the listener, whilst playing to the strengths of the soloist. Examples of these virtuosic arias are included in Griselda from 1735, or from two years later, Catone in Utica. Despite these canny moves, Vivaldi's status as an opera composer was in decline. For many years he was frustrated in his attempts to stage an opera in Ferrara. There were even personal intrigues, leading to a ban placed upon Vivaldi's music in Ferrara, by the Papacy there. Towards the end of Vivaldi's life, he was still active in the world of the theatre, but turned from composing operas to becoming more of an opera arranger.

Scocca dardi l'altero tuo ciglio (Griselda)
Ottone.... Simone Kermes (soprano)
Ensemble Matheus
Jean-Christophe Spinosi, director

Griselda, RV718 (Act 2, sc 11-14)
Constanza.... Verónica Cangemi (soprano)
Ottone.... Simone Kermes (soprano)
Griselda.... Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto)
Gualtiero.... Stefano Ferrari (tenor)
Ensemble Matheus
Jean-Christophe Spinosi, director

Catone in Utica, RV705 (Act 2, sc 12-14)
Arbace.... Emőke Baráth (soprano)
Emilia.... Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)
Marzia.... Sonia Prina (contralto)
Il Complesso Barocco
Alan Curtis, director

Concerto in D major for violin, 2 oboes, 2 horns and timpani, RV562A
Adrian Chandler, violin
La Serenissima
Adrian Chandler, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

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Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Vivaldi with an examination of the music published during the composer's own lifetime, from his variations on La Follia to his flute concerto La Notte.

Sonata (20 Variations on La Follia) in D minor for two violins and continuo, RV 63

Manfredo Kraemer, Mauro Lopes (violins)

Balazs Mate (cello)

Xavier Diaz-Latorre (guitar)

Xavier Puertas (violone)

Carlos Garcia-Bernalt (harpsichord)

Alis Vox AVSA9844, Tr 15

Concerto in G minor for flute, strings and continuo, RV 439 (La Notte)

Janet See (flute)

Jakob Lindberg (archlute)

John Toll (organ)

Taverner Players

Andew Parrott (conductor)

EMI CDC 7 47700 2, Trs 9-13

Sonata in D minor for violin and continuo, RV 14

Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin)

Richard Tunnicliffe (cello)

Malcolm Proud (harpsichord)

Hyperion CDA67467, Trs 10-13

Concerto in B flat for violin, strings and continuo, RV 362 (La caccia)

Academia Montis Regalis

Enrico Onofri (violin/director)

naive OP 30417, Trs 13-15

Sonata in B flat for cello and continuo, RV 46

David Watkin (cello)

Helen Gough (continuo cello)

David Miller (baroque guitar)

Robert King (chamber organ)

Hyperion CDA66881/2, CD 2, Trs 9-12.

Donald Macleod examines the music published in Vivaldi's own lifetime.

05 LASTA Pauper's Funeral20110930

Donald Macleod focuses on the tragic end to Vivaldi's life.

It's a mystery why the elderly Vivaldi chose to abandon his home in Venice, ending his days poverty stricken in a foreign land.

Donald Macleod investigates.

05 LASTAnd Beyond...20130322

Donald Macleod focuses on Vivaldi's travels around Europe.

As part of Baroque Spring, a month long season of Baroque music and culture, Donald Macleod follows Vivaldi as he travels around Europe.

Vivaldi had always looked towards the international market, and he toured extensively, all over Italy and as far north as Amsterdam. He picked up VIP fans as he went, including King Fredrik IV of Denmark and Norway, the Hapsburg Emperor Charles VI, and Louis XV of France, who adored the Four Seasons and had command performances of them at Versailles.

05 LASTInto Obscurity20141226

Donald Macleod reflects on Vivaldi's bittersweet relationship with Vienna and introduces music from the final decade of his life, as musical tastes in Venice began to change.

Vivaldi continued to compose for the stage through his final decade though, as tastes in Venice began to change, his standing as an opera composer was about to peak. He was constantly on the road, travelling from one court to another with his favourite singer, Anna Giraud. After a very acrimonious debacle with the Cardinal of Ferrara, who refused Vivaldi entry into the city, he nearly went bankrupt. Vivaldi still had friends in high places and, in 1740, Vivaldi made the fateful decision to travel to Vienna and seek patronage from Charles VI, Emperor of Austria. Tragically for Vivaldi, the Emperor died just as Vivaldi arrived. The composer himself only survived a few more months, ending his career in abject poverty. Donald Macleod introduces music from those final years including two operas staged in Venice in which Anna sang key roles, a concerto from one of the collections dedicated to the music-loving Emperor of Austria and, finally, one of Vivaldi's colourful multi-instrument concertos played at his final farewell to Venice.

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His itinerary includes Vivaldi's final ill-fated trip to Vienna where he met his death.

Concerto in F for two horns, strings and continuo, RV 538

Zefiro

Alfredo Bernardini (conductor)

La Senna Festeggiante, RV 693 (excerpt)

L'Età dell'Oro....Carolyn Sampson (soprano)

La Virtù....Hilary Summers (alto)

La Senna....Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)

The King's Consort

Robert King (conductor)

Concerto in A, Op 9, No 6, RV 348

I Musici

Manchester Sonata in Em, RV 17A

Fabio Biondi (violin)

Rinaldo Alessandrini (harpsichord)

Maurizio Naddeo (cello)

Paolo Pandolfo (bass).