Antonio Vivaldi |
was employed for most of his working life by the Ospedale della Pietà. Often termed an "orphanage", this Ospedale was in fact a home for the female offspring of noblemen and their numerous dalliances with their mistresses. The Ospedale was thus well endowed by the "anonymous" fathers; its furnishings bordered on the opulent, the young ladies were well looked-after, and the musical standards among the highest in Venice. Many of Vivaldi's concerti were indeed exercises which he would play with his many talented pupils.
Though not Vivaldi's Ospedale della Pietà, this picture shows the interior "concert salon" of a typical Ospedale in Venice during Vivaldi's time. Note the elegant audience and opulent surroundings, and the Ladies performing well out of the Gentlemen's reach in the music gallery. Vivaldi maintained his long tenure at the Ospedale without, as he himself said, "a single scandal", something which appears to have been an exception.
BAROQUE COMPOSERS & MUSICIANS