Vivaldi was born into a musical family with his father was a professional violinist in St Marks in Venice. His father taught him (along with his other children) and he is known to have given his first performance at 18. He did, however, train for the priesthood and was ordained in 1703. However, he left soon afterwards claiming ill health. This may or may not have been true as it was common at the time that children would enter the priesthood solely because the education was free.
Vivaldi was appointed violin master at the Ospedale della Pietà shortly afterwards where he worked on and off for the next ten years and during this time he began publishing his works. His first operatic production was Orlando finto pazzo performed at the theatre of St. Angelo in 1714.
Then in 1718 he travelled to Mantua with his new opera, Armida al campo d'Egitto where he remained for the next four years composing operas, cantatas and serenatas for the Mantuan Court. Later, with inceasing reputation, he left Mantua and travelled to Rome where he performed for the Pope.
For the rest of his life Vivaldi travelled extensively, often anxious to see the opening of a new opera.
Winter from I quattro stagioni - the Four Seasons.
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