‘I’ve another bit of news for you, Vivaldi,’ growls the
Maestro di Coro in a low voice, trying with his little ﬁnger to extract
a remnant of mutton from between his teeth. ‘Vicenza.’
‘What about Vicenza?’ Antonio asks, his mind elsewhere.
‘Oh,’ Gasparini looks up at the ceiling and closes his eyes
despairingly. ‘Oh, Mother Maria! I have found a theatre for your
‘WHAT? But that’s wonderful!’ screeches Antonio. He
gratefully embraces Gasparini whilst the choirmaster tries gently
but ﬁrmly to push his arms away. ‘That’s enough,’ he mutters,
embarrassed at such a show and all the attention this is attracting
from the rest of the table. Everyone is by now staring open-mouthed
at the pair. Pietro Scarpari gives Antonio a dour look. The singing
master is sure by now his premonition was correct; those two are
deﬁnitely up to something.
‘Allora, may we share in the celebration? Are we all getting
a rise in salary or something?’ calls out Scarpari, evoking a round
of laughter. Vivaldi beats out a triumphant roll of drums on the
table with his two hands, rises to his feet and strikes a pose with
one foot on his chair. ‘Signori, you will soon have the pleasure of
hearing a new production, Ottone in Villa, a dramma per musica in
three acts, written by none other than your very own Don Antonio
Vivaldi!’ He spreads his arms in the air as if already accepting the
accolade of a standing ovation. ‘Brava’ccio!’ hisses Scarpari between
clenched teeth, clapping as hard as the rest of his colleagues, by
now all offering Antonio their congratulations.
‘I can live with that,’ nods his father upon hearing his son’s news.
Although still part of the Republic, Vicenza is just far enough away.
The Teatro delle Garzerie is fairly well established, but a new theatre
is due to open shortly with two works by Pollarolo on the
programme. Antonio is unperturbed. There will be plenty of public
left to attend his debut. Somewhere deep down he has decided that
should it be a washout he will blame Pollarolo and the new theatre.
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