Vivaldi is having further boosts to his popularity with the Brandenburg Orchestra delivering cracking performances of his Four Seasons in various cities and with Pinchgut rehearsing his opera Farnace (December 4-10). It’s all very well to be popular now but poor old Vivaldi could have used some royalties in 1741, the last year of his life. After difficulties on several fronts in Venice, he accepted the invitation of Emperor Charles IV to move to Vienna, expecting to run his own theatre. Unfortunately Charles died just after Vivaldi arrived there and all support stopped immediately. He’d sold up everything, including music scores, to fund his move to Vienna; in his 63rd year he became ill and died impoverished.
Farnace was one of Vivaldi’s favourites out of his 48 plus operas. First performed in Venice in 1727 then Prague in 1730 to considerable success, Farnace drew Vivaldi back and he began a major reworking of it in 1738 but completed only two acts before his death. The scores were lost for over 180 years until rediscovered in 1926 in a former Piedmont monastery owned by the family of the Grand Duke Durazzo. Pinchgut’s Artistic Director Erin Helyard has collaborated with European colleagues on the reconstruction of the third act. Christopher Lowrey will sing Farnace, King of Pontus, who defeated by Pompey, is both blessed and cursed by three formidable women depicted above: his wife, his sister and his mother-in-law, however, it all ends happily enough.