Vivaldi, Antonio (opera) (Lucio)
- Eric Cross
(b Venice, March 4, 1678; d Vienna, 27/July 28, 1741). Italian composer and violinist. Although most celebrated for his 500-odd concertos, he was one of the most successful opera composers in the Italy of his day.
Vivaldi was the first son of Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, a Brescian barber who became a professional violinist at St Mark’s, Venice, in 1685, and Camilla Calicchio, a tailor’s daughter. Giovanni Battista was a leading violinist in the city and was often styled ‘Rossi’ on account of his red hair, a characteristic inherited by his son. He was involved in theatre management and may even have been the Giambattista Rossi who composed La fedeltà sfortunata in 1688.
Antonio was baptized by the midwife immediately after birth (his full baptism was on 6 May), since she feared his life was in danger, probably from the ‘strettezza di petto’ (bronchial asthma) that was to affect both his physical health and his character, making him prone to paranoia, throughout his life. He trained for the priesthood from ...