The roots of Antonio Vivaldi and the Pomarico Vivaldi Festival

Antonio Vivaldi, Italian Music, Italian culture, Italian heritage, Italian american, Italian news, Italian traditions

Friends of the Pomarico Vivaldi Festival 2014 posed atop the Ponte of Calatrava upon their arrival in Venice


Dear Readers,
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741) violinist extraordinaire and one of the most prolific well-known Italian composers who composed over 500 concertos, 12 operas, numerous oratorios, lyrics and cantatas and I, have something in common, i.e., both our “nonnos” were born in the same hilly hometown in Lucania or Basilicata regione of Italy, hence, this plug for the Pomarico Vivaldi Festival Edizione 2014, sponsored by the Nuovo Comitato per le Celebrazioni Vivaldiane di Pomarico, Matera, which will take place August 8-9-10 at the Corte Palazzo Marchesale in Pomarico. Visit 
 Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Musico Veneziano dalle origini Pomaricane 

 Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741). Musico Veneziano dalle origini Pomaricane 

Until recently, Antonio Vivaldi’s biographical information has been devoid of any mention of his southern Italian “roots”. Pomarico is the town in “Basilicata”, where in 1649, a 22 year old musically talented tailor by the name of Camillo Calicchio, “per trovare lavoro” left home for Venice.
In Venice, he met and married Zanetta Temporini and had a daughter, named Camilla Calicchio. When Camilla married Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, her first child born in 1678 was a “bambino” named Antonio Vivaldi, and Camillo Calicchio, originally from Pomarico, Matera was his maternal NONNO.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), entered the priesthood in 1703. Like his father, a Venetian violinist, he took to the violin, like a duck to the waters of the Venetian Lagoons, and quickly became a violin teacher, a conductor, and a composer-in-residence at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà, a Venetian conservatory for orphaned girls.
Vivaldi was stunningly prolific, producing more than 500 concertos in his lifetime, more than any other known composer.
Vivaldi’s compositions have titles like The Night, The Storm at Sea, and The Goldfinch, but his most famous is The Four Seasons, a catchy set of four concertos that remains one of the most popular pieces of Western classical music today. With this and other pieces, Vivaldi revolutionized the role of the soloist, giving it unprecedented importance with his extraordinary sense of drama and flourish. Vivaldi also had a huge influence on Johann Sebastian Bach and on other composers of the classical era
  The cast of “Il Prete Rosso”, a commedia in two acts about life in the Vivaldi family, written by Dott. Virgilio Boccardi (seated) was performed by the Avis Teatro Pomarico company at the “Chiesa della Pieta’” in Venice, during a recent cultural exchange 

  The cast of “Il Prete Rosso”, a commedia in two acts about life in the Vivaldi family, written by Dott. Virgilio Boccardi (seated) was performed by the Avis Teatro Pomarico company at the “Chiesa della Pieta’” in Venice, during a recent cultural exchange 

The Nuovo Comitato Celebrazioni Vivaldiane di Pomarico, in an effort to make young people aware of the valuable contributions to music and opera, made by Antonio Vivaldi also wanted them to be aware of Vivaldi’s local “roots” and how then as now for reasons of “lavoro” his grandfather “fosse partito da una situazione di spaesamento, di dolore e da una condizione di emigrazione”. Antonio Vivaldi’s “roots” were not in Venezia, but from Brescia (Lombardia) on his father’s side and Pomarico on his mother’s side.
Each year, an addition to Vivaldi musical offerings there is a literary “concorso” and young people are invited to write compositions or poetry that relate to the annual Festa Vivaldi theme. An earlier theme was “emigrazione” and youthful contestants had to go back in time and in an imaginary “interview” with Vivaldi’s grandfather, Camillo Calicchio, an excellent musician and tailor by trade and ask “Cosa l’ha spinto a emigrare a Venezia (what pushed you to emigrate to Venice)? .
Following is an excerpt  from a winning entry when the theme was “emigrazione”. Each year the cream of the literary crop are printed and published in an “Antologia di Testi Premio Letterario Pomarico Antonio Vivaldi”:
Cosa l’ha spinto ad emigrare a Venezia?
“Mi chiamo Camillo Calicchio, ero residente a Pomarico, un paese di collina in provincia di Matera. Mia figlia Camilla ha 9 figli tra cui uno diventato compositore e violinista famoso: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi. Come ti ho già detto, abitavo a Pomarico e il mio lavoro era: il sarto. Per molti anni con la mia famiglia ho vissuto lì, poi a causa della carestia mi trasferii a Venezia. Come me tante altre persone sono emigrate per mancanza di lavoro che portò tanta povertà. Viaggiavamo con treni a carbone e le nostre valigie erano fatte di cartone legate con una corda stretta.
A Venezia ho continuato a fare il sarto mentre mio genero Giovanni Battista Vivaldi lavora come barbiere e come secondo lavoro fa il violinista e suona nella Basilica di San Marco. Antonio, mio nipote è nato nel 1678. Nei suoi primi anni d’infanzia ha frequentato la scuola della sua parrocchia, poi a 13-14 anni entrò a far parte del conservatorio. E lì ha iniziato a cantare e a suonare con suo padre sempre nella Basilica di San Marco.
The Literary theme for the Pomarico Vivaldi Festival Edizione 2014 is Inverno (winter).
   The Comitato encouraged young entrants to write about Inverno not just as a season of the year, but also as a period in our lives. For inspiration they listened to Vivaldi’s catchy set of four concertos, The Four Seasons.
The Pomarico Vivaldi Festival 2014 will open on August 8th, with opening greetings by Comitato President Sergio Pizzilli. Artist Gennaro Scandiffio will inaugurate the Art Exhibit of student art on the theme of Camillo Calicchio, tailor born in Pomarico and grandfather of Antonio Vivaldi.
A “Tavola Rotonda” (round table) on “Pomarico at the time of Camillo Calicchio” will take place and documents and costumes of the period in which he lived will be on display. A Vivaldi Musical Ensemble with first violinist Chiara Lupo will perform. Semi-finalists, selected from over 800 entrants will perform and prizes, which include 500, 150 and 100 Euro Borsa di Studio (scholarships) will be awarded on August 10th at the Festival Finale.
On August 9th, the Avis Teatro Company will perform the two act commedia Vivaldi il Prete Rosso, written by Virgilio Boccardi, directed by Domenico Laterza, scenery Michele David and Nicola Scocozza, with sounds and lighting by Biagio Ciraldo.
On August 10th, Closing Night of the Vivaldi Festival, there will be Greetings and Salutations by the newly-elected Mayor of Pomarico, Francesco Mancini. Award presentations and a diversity of musical styles from Baroque to Jazz will be performed.

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