The Teatro alla Moda by Benedetto Marcello

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The Teatro alla Moda by Benedetto Marcello

Vivaldi was the subject of bitter criticism and fierce competition as an impresario and composer. While Hasse and Albinoni increased their fame as opera players throughout Italy, Antonio perhaps never reached their heights of success. Reading the letters written towards the end of his life, it is easy to understand how Vivaldi was very intolerant of criticism.

Thus, when another (amateur) Venetian composer, the noble Benedetto Marcello, published the book Il Teatro alla Moda in 1720, Vivaldi suffered greatly in the following years. This small satire book, centered on the crazy world of opera, mainly targets Vivaldi (anagram "Aldiviva") and in a captivating way makes fun of his works and the way of composing them. The book became very famous and popular in Venice, so much so that for some years Antonio's works were hardly represented there.

Apart from a generic moralizing intent in keeping with the noble Marcello family, owner of the Sant'Angelo, in reality the satirical libretto also hides a much more prosaic desire to damage the image of Vivaldi, who, as impresario of his theater, was a little too much invasive, and with several unregulated economic issues with ownership.