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Catholic Church makes peace with Vivaldi

by Marcus Jones
Antonio_Vivaldi_portrait.jpg - Banner image

The Catholic Church in the Italian city of Ferrara has made what has been described as a "marvellous gesture" in making peace with renowned composer Antonio Vivaldi, 300 years after an archbishop cancelled the staging of one of his operas.

It's claimed Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo banned Vivaldi from Ferrara in 1739 after it emerged Vivaldi, who was an ordained priest, had stopped celebrating mass and had started a relationship with one of his singers.

Historians however believe he's stopped serving in church because of respiratory problems and his relationship with Anna Giro was merely a professional one.

His cancellation would send the composer into debt in his final years.

On Thursday, current Ferrara archbishop Giancarlo Perego attended the opening of Vivaldi's Il Farnace at the city's public theatre, a decision hailed by the theatre's artistic director for helping to heal the past and highlight one of Vivaldi's lesser-known works.

"We want to restore to Vivaldi what was taken from him here in Ferrara," Marcello Corvino told the Associated Press ahead of the premiere of the opera which tells the story of the tragic dynasty of King Pharnaces II.

"It's almost a vindication, a belated tribute that the city of Ferrara is offering Vivaldi," said Federico Maria Sardelli, who is conducting the opera and wrote a book on Vivaldi's decline, L'Affare Vivaldi, which chronicles his final years.

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