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Antonio Vivaldi Biography

Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4th, 1678. Through ordained a priest in 1703, according to his own account, within a year of being ordained Vivaldi no longer wished to celebrate mass because physical complaints tightness of the chest which pointed to asthmatic bronchitis, or a nervous disorder. It is also possible that Vivaldi was faking his illness. There is a story that he sometimes left the alter to jot down a musical idea. He had became a priest against his own will, because priesthood was often the only way possible for a poor family to obtain free schooling.

Vavaldi wrote many memorable concertos, such as he Four seasons and the opus 3, he also wrote many works for students. People and students still play these pieces all over the world. Vavaldi was employed for most of his working life by by the Ospedale della Pieta. Often termed orphanage, this Ospedale was in fact a home for the female offspring of noblemen and their numerous dalliance with their mistresses. Many of Vavaldis concerti were indeed exercises which he would play whith his many talented pupils.

Vavaldis relationship wth the Ospedale began right after his ordination in 1703, when he was named as the violin teacher there. Until 1709, Vavaldis appointment as renewed every year and again and after 1711. They think between 1709 and 1711 Vivaldi was not attached to the Ospedale. They think he might started working for the Teatro Sant Anngelo an opera theater. He was still was a composer though, in 1711 twelve of his concertos were written and and published in Amsterdam. In 1713 Vavaldi was given a months leave from the Ospedale to stage his first opera, it was called Ottone in ville.

He did this opera in Vicenza. He produced another opera in the period between 1713 and 1714. Thse highest part of Vavaldis life was the end of 1716. In November he managed to have the Ospedale erform his great oratorio, it was called the Juditha Triumphans devicta Holofernis barbaric. This piece was about the victory of the Christians over the Turks in August of 1716. Vavaldi Moved to Mantua in the late 1717 for two years in order to take up his post as Chamber Kapellmeister at the court of Landgrave Philips van Hessen Darmstadt. His task there was to provide operas, cantatas, and perhaps concert music, too.

Vavaldi in 1720 returned to Venice where he again staged new operas that he wrote himself. In Mantua he had met a singer by the name of Anna Giraud, she moved in with him Vavaldi said that she was just a housekeeper and great friend, just like her sister, Paolina, who also moved in. Anna Giraud was young, born in Venice. She was daughter to French wigmaker. She wasnt beautiful, though she was elegant, a small women with beatiful eyes and a fascinating mouth. She had a very small voice, but she could speak many languages. Vivaldi taught her how to sing and stayed with her until he died.

Vavaldi wrote works for commission from foreign rulers, such as the frech king, Louis XV. He serenaded La Sena festeggiante at the festival of the Seine. The bad thing is that they can not date this music, but they know it was written after 1720. In rome Vavaldi found a patron in the person of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, a great music lover, who earlier had been the patron of Arcangelo Corelli. Vavldi himself was asked by the pope to play the violin for him at a private audience. He totally loved it, it also was a great time in his life.

Despite his stay in Rome and other cities, Vivaldi remained in the service of the Ospedale della Pieta, he was nominated the Maestro di Concerti. He had to send two concertos per month to veniceand he received a ducat per concerto. His presence was never required. He also remained dictator of the Teatro Sant Angelo, as he did in he 1726, 7 and 8 seasons. Between 1725 and 1728 eight opera were made by Vavaldi. In three months Vavaldi composed three operas, two for Venice and one for florence. During these years Vavaldi also extremely active in the field of Concertos.

In 1725 the publication of Il Cimento dellArmenia e dellinvenzione and opus 8, appeared in Amsterdam. this consisted of twelve concertos, seven of which were descriptive: The Four Seasons, Storm at Sea, Pleasure and The Hunt. Vivaldi transformed the tradition of descriptive music into a typically Italian musical style with its unmistakable timbre in which the strings play a big role. These concetos were enormously successful, particulary in france. In the second half of the 18th century there were changes in the Spring concerto. King Louis was mad about the change and ordered it to be performed at the most unexpected moments.

Moreover, Vivaldi received various commisions for compsitions from the court at Versailles. In 1730 Vivaldi, his father, and Anna Giraud traveled to to Prague. In this city were Mozart celebrated his first operatic triumphs just a half century before. Vivaldi met a half Venetian opera company which between 1724 and 1734 staged some sixty operas in the theater of Count Franz Anton von Sporck. In 1730 to 1731 season, two new operas by Vavaldi were premiered there after the previous season had been closed with his opera Farnace, a work the composer often used as his showpiece.

After his stay in Prague, Vivaldi concertrated mainly on operas. No further collections of instimental music were published. However Vivaldi continued to write instrimental music, although it only to sell manuscripts to private persons or to the Ospedale della Pieta. In 1735 they paid him a fixed honoraium of 100 ducats a year. In 1733 he met the English trveler Edward Holdsworth, who had been commioned to purchase a few of Vavaldis pieces for he mans letters .

In 1783 Vivaldi was in Amsterdam were he conducted a festive opening concert for the 100th Anniversary of the Schouwburg theater. Returning to venice, which was at the time of suffering a severe economic downturn. Vivaldi resigned from the Ospedale in 1740, planning to move to Vienna under the patronage of his admiror Charles VI. His stay in Vienna was to be a shortlived however, for Vavaldi died on July 28th 1741 of internal fire and like Mozart fifty years later, recieved a modest burial. Anna Giraud stayed with him until he died. She stayed in venice untill her death in 1750.

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