regales the company with far too long a speech on the golden
future of France, her king and the new queen, and the guests
breathe a huge sigh of relief as His Excellency de Gergy at last
announces ‘La Gloria e Imeneo’. Don Vivaldi wastes not a second in
starting up the orchestra to play his serenata.
To the great regret of many a Venetian, there will again be nothing
by Vivaldi in the theatres this autumn. As usual, Modetto has
sounded him out, and this time Antonio has not refused outright.
‘I’ll have a word with father about it,’ he promises the impresario.
Anna has one bit part in an opera by Guiseppe Buina and
another in the production of Agide rè di Sparta by Porta. Once more
she wins great applause and another boost to her self-conﬁdence.
She reminds the priest of his promise to write an opera especially
for her, but, without deﬂating her too badly, he tries to explain to
Anna that he does not yet consider her ripe for a prima donna role.
Unable to accept this, she does the rounds of all the theatres on the
off chance of ﬁnding a role that suits her.
Most impresarios send her away empty-handed. ‘Come
back in a couple of years!’ is the general response. She is too young.
But one man, Guido Nesario, is not so keen to send her
packing. Instead he lets his glance wander lasciviously over the supple
ﬁgure of the young singer. Che donnina! But he is soon jolted out of his
mental seventh heaven when she says she lives with the Vivaldi family.
‘Il Prete Rosso?’ he ascertains. Anna nods. He is very sorry,
but he has nothing for her, says Guido, staring regretfully after her
at the loveliness of those perfectly formed buttocks. In retreat, they
seem almost to be mocking him. But no one wants to burn their
ﬁngers on an underage singer from the Vivaldi household. It would
cost Il Prete Rosso nothing to report you to the Inquisition, with all
the consequences thereof!
Oh well, Guido commiserates with himself; there are
plenty more shapely little singers in the world whom nobody
concerns themselves about.
Antonio has some unﬁnished business. He could certainly perform
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