Laurel Corona’s The Four Seasons
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Sacramento, CA 95814
Being dumped in an orphanage as a toddler has its perks. That is, if you were a female living in Baroque Italy and were dumped at the orphanage where Antonio Vivaldi just happened to teach music. In Laurel Corona’s novel The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice, two sisters are abandoned at Ospedale della Pietà, a sort of convent/orphanage/music conservatory where Vivaldi served as violin master. One sister quickly gains fame after mastering her singing voice, but is forced to choose an aristocratic life of marriage or life of music in the coro, or choir, of the Pietà, which featured only female musicians and was admired by aristocrats. The other sister catches Vivaldi’s ear with her love of the violin, setting off a relationship where they challenge each other musically. Vivaldi helped shape the Pietà’s musical geniuses, young girls with a love and talent for music. But perhaps those orphans shaped him as well. Maybe the intense clashing in Vivaldi’s L’estate wasn’t inspired by thunder, but the pitter patter of little feet in an orphanage. You never know.