Cross, Eric. The Late Operas of Antonio Vivaldi, 1727-1738, Volume One. Michigan: UMI
Research Press, 1981
This book is fairly comprehensive of all of Vivaldi's life. It starts with a preface which goes into the purpose of the book: To examine the impact of Vivaldi on the world of Baroque Opera. The first chapter gives background information on both Vivaldi's history and the history of Venice during his upbringing. The focus of the chapter is to provide background information on both the history of Venice and the nature of opera during his time to contextualize Vivaldi's entrance into the world of musical theater and opera. Because the book focuses on the entirety of Vivaldi's career and primarily on his later works, it only briefly examines the time frame of 1713-1723. Nonetheless, the information given provides an adequate survey of our decided time frame. Cross then attempts to cover the most important of Vivaldi's operatic works chronologically as he follows his career from his first opera appearing in 1713 to his death in 1741. Cross devotes the second chapter to this topic and goes into depth to examine varying aspects from the types of paper Vivaldi used to the structures of his scores. Because this book is musically based, Cross also provides a brief explanation and examination of Vivaldi's musical style in these selected operas. Eric Cross is a Professor and Dean of Cultural affairs at Newcastle University. He wrote his PhD dissertation on Vivaldi and his operas and his primary research interests lie in Baroque opera, especially the works of Vivaldi.
Landon, H.C. Robbins. Vivaldi: Voice of the Baroque. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc., 1993. Print.
This 208 page book covering the entire life of Antonio Vivaldi and his work is very informative and extremely well written. The author, H.C. Robbins Landon, is an "honorary Professional Fellow of University College, Cardiff, and one of the world's leading musicologists." He has wrote many books about Mozart, Beethoven, Handel and more, making him seem like a credible source with a lot of passion and knowledge in regards to classical music and the history of surrounding famous composers and their compositions. "Landon's name guarantees scholarship of the highest order, plus readability" (The Daily Telegraph, book jacket). The book is laid out as a typical biography. It begins with Vivaldi's early life and his family, growing up in Venice the son of a barber who also became a professional musician and joining the orchestra of San Marco in 1685 when Antonio was seven. Then Antonio Vivaldi becomes a priest (his nickname was Prete rosso, the red-haired Priest) as he is composing and shortly after having to give up celebrating mass due to "tightness in the chest." It then goes into his career in opera and the fact that Handel arrived in Venice in 1709, bringing a huge boost in interest into the Italian opera scene. From there is goes through relationships, patronage of Charles VI, traveling and ill health and his eventual death in Vienna in 1741, at the age of 62. This book also contains a complete chronology of all his operas and other major works.
"Life in Italy from Baroque to Napoleon." Italy. Newsletter, 29 Dec. 2009. Web. 18 Nov.
Life in Italy from Baroque to Napolean is an article from lifeintaly.com that I plan on using to help with my research. The article touches specifically on Baroque Art and how it fit into Italian society, and talks about how Baroque art in Italy was heavily inspired by many classical elements and acheivements made by the Renaissance. Although, my group presentation focuses heavily on Vivaldi and his famous work Prisillda, the article goes on to talk about how that both the architecture and style of Baroque art can be seen best through Gian Lorenzo Benini. With this article I am not only provided with information regarding Baroque music and theatre, but their art and architecture as well, which is where Benini came into play. I'm given very little covering specifically Baroque music and theatre in comparison, which is just fine being that I am more in charge of the historical content of the the era as oppose to the specifities of the music and its relation to theatre. The information that I am provided with should suffice just well, from a historical lens all I will be informing my listeners is how Baroque opera in eighteenth century Italy was the starting point for opera being seen as a major form of entertainment. Life in Italy from Baroque to Napolean makes way for me to also speak about the Catholic Church at the time and its relation to science, as well as the economic decline and trading of powers which literlly starts at our starting point--1713.
Macklem, Mary. "VIVALDI: Arsilda, Regina Di Ponto." Opera Today. Opera Today, 14
June 2005. Web. 17 Nov. 2012.
Opera Today is regarded as the leading site dedicated to opera and vocal music. Established in 2004, the site provides reviews of current performances, recordings and books, interviews, and links to recent news items. The information I found was a CD review by Dr. Mary Macklem, a professor at the University of Central Florida. She gives a historical background of Arsilda, Regina di Ponto and addresses the difficulty Vivaldi faced with censorship and artistic freedom. She also lays out the plot of the Opera which will be essential to our presentation since we have chosen to focus on the third opera of Vivaldi's.
The recording reviewed features the Baroque orchestra of Modo Antiquo, a group known for their work with Vivaldi's pieces which are often neglected by contemporary musicians. Arsilda, Regina di Ponto is recorded in its original signed form and it is the first recording of the non-censored opera. Macklem gives great credit to the musicianship as well as the instrumentation that gives Vivaldi's work great color and emotion. She refers to the plot as "typical early eighteenth-century plot in its use of love intrigues, mistaken identities, and musical features such as simile arias. As such, it perfectly encapsulates the contemporary Pier Jacopo Martello's tongue-in-cheek satire of opera of the day, which argued that opera, in order to be entertaining, should avoid following Aristotelian rules of drama and instead feature favored scenic conventions, such as prison and sleep scenes." It is clear from her historical description why the play was censored in the first place.
Morin, Alexander J. "Vivaldi - Juditha Triumphans." Classical Net Review - Vivaldi -
Juditha Triumphans. Classical Net, 1998. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.
Much like the other reviews, I will use this source as a tool to explain the plot of Juditha as well as its major themes. These facts will contribute to our argument by connecting the work of Vivaldi the the historical context. Juditha is based off of the Book of Judith and tells the story of Judith's triumph over the general of the Barbarians who took over her home. It was commissioned a few months after Venice took control of the island of Corfu back from the Turks. What is most interesting about this piece is how quickly it was composed by Vivaldi and how general who led the troops was in attendance when it opened. The opera was performed by an all-female cast and was a great success, evoking pride and a strong emotional response from the audience.
Portrait of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). N.d. Photograph. Civico Museo Bibliografico
Musicale, Bologna. Art-Prints-On-Demand.com. Art Prints On Demand. Web. 28 Nov.
This is an oil painting of Antonio Vivaldi. It is one of the only portraits of Vivaldi still available. There are only three portraits of Vivaldi known-an engraving, an ink sketch and the oil painting we have chosen for our main photo. In the oil painting you can see Vivaldi's red hair as well as his blonde wig. He is also holding his violin which was his original art form. It was found online via an print-ordering website in which you could purchase a representation of the original work.
Strohm, Reinhard. Essays on Handel and Italian Opera. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. Print.
I originally found this book when looking up information when we were planning on focusing our efforts around researching Handel. But now, as interests shifted, I still find myself researching this book because it feels like it gives very good context to the era of baroque music. I like the fact that it's more modern because it translates better to me as someone studying the 18th century in the 21st century. I also appreciated how in his own way, the author immediately addresses the use of the W.E.I.R.D. lens and crafts his research with that dissonance in mind. From what I've read so far, there is a lot of light to be shown on the politics, culture and social surroundings of the Italian opera from that generation by use of this book.
Tuttle, Raymond. "Classical Net Review - Vivaldi." Classical Net. Classical Net, 2005.
Web. 17 Nov. 2012.
It is clear from my research that finding entire articles or books on this opera would prove to be difficult. I am relying on CD reviews because they not only give historical context to Arsilda, Regina di Ponto, but they provide me with great audio sources and analyses of the music and instrumentation which often provide greater insight than the summaries of the plot. The review above was written by Raymond Tuttle a professor and classical music critic. He begins the article by discussing Orlando, but goes into the review on Arsilda directly after. The fact that he begins the description of the play with its difficult beginnings and the story of its censorship proved to me the significance of Vivaldi's ordeal. He then opens up a discussion as to whether it is right to perform the censored version or if conductors should always choose the original score-I found this to be an excellent discussion point. The CD he reviews is the same on as Macklem by the Baroque orchestra. Due to the conductors choice of the original score and the orchestra's knowledge of Vivaldi's work, Tuttle appreciates and enjoys this recording. He goes into a plot summary which ends with a particularly interesting line which says, "And the characters happily couple off in the expected heterosexual pairs". This ending, for him makes him focus on the gendering of the opera and its place in the society of the time.
Vaussard, Maurice. Daily Life in Eighteenth Century Italy. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Daily Life in Eighteenth Century Italy will be a strong base and contributor to my research of the historical context of the time. The book literally delves into the day to day life of the people of this era and place covering what people wore during this time and era, cultural rituals of the time, and the governmental effects on society. This book is great because I knew that for this project I would need a source that did not specifically cover just the Early Modern Period in Italy or the country's art, but I needed a source that would give me a sweeping overview on the day to day life of the people that lived during that time, which I believe would be the most important piece of historical context. Daily Life in Eighteenth Century Italy provides me with not just the historical context covering my range of years for the presentation-- 1713-1723, but it provides me with context twelve years before and seventy seven years after so that I may have a more well rounded way of understanding what it is that I'll be talking about. It provides me with enough free range to speak about the customs of the nobility of the Italians, the middle and lower class, the cost of living and dying, theatre and music, religion and clergy, and industry and commerce. This source would work perfectly with any other source that I incorporate. If I were to change one of my sources down the line, this book actually serves as the basis of the hisorical context of the time and can mold in with any other research.