without his father around. What he does not so fully realise is how
much credit is due to Paolina and her managerial ﬁnesse.
Giambattista is relieved to be staying in Venice this winter. He
responds, on his son’s behalf, to a great deal of correspondence,
but also spends more time with his few remaining friends. For this
he goes by water to the Castello district, for his cronies do not feel at
home in the magniﬁcence of the house adjacent to Palazzo Bembo.
They do not for an instant begrudge him it, that goes without
saying, but after visiting him and perching uneasily in the piano
nobile, sipping wine from crystal glasses… well, once is enough.
And, truth be told, Giambattista does not at all mind either. It is in
Castello in the shadow of San Martino that he too really feels at home;
here are his memories of childhood and growing up. And it is
usually after dawn next day by the time the gondolier ﬁnally
deposits him back outside the big house again, still very much the
worse for wear. Having waited up all night for him, his daughters
watch with relief as he crawls up from the landing-stage.
Giambattista doesn’t care. He has relived with his comrades the
Venice of old, and, still half-drunk and drowning in melancholia,
he plods upstairs, blubbering for Camilla.
The next day he has forgotten all about it.
Farnace goes on pulling in the crowds, for father has managed to
arrange that this operatic runaway success be put on in Padua in
May. Then comes summer, without any prospect of new work.
Anna continues faithfully each day to run through her singing
exercises. She wants to keep her voice in trim, even if there is little
likelihood of her being offered a serious role for this year.
Sometimes she wonders if it would not be better for her to present
herself to some other impresarios. Away from Venice, for everyone
here knows her as ‘L’Annina del Prete Rosso’, the priest’s little darling,
or so it is whispered. Ridiculous! But she has also found out for
herself, meanwhile, how murderous is the competition. Female
singers are ten a penny and some are even prepared to sing for
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