Vivaldi for Breakfast!

Vivaldi for Breakfast is an interesting attempt to dramatise the enigmatic life of notorious Baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi, as he worked in the famous Pietà orphanage for young girls in Venice. The subject matter, as someone interested in classical music, proved promising. The reality of the performance, however, was somewhat disappointing.

Vivaldi for Breakfast is the product of amateur fumblings into the history of music

The performance was incredibly amateur, from the writing, which had a tendency to endlessly recycle lecherous, puerile and facile jokes that were not particularly funny the first time round, to the acting, which lacked commitment and any real profundity of understanding of the characters and their plights, resulting in a lack of emotional range. The playing too, although very pleasant, lacked the passion that so characterises the composer’s work, and therefore failed to do justice to the fascinating life and power of the protagonist.

Although conceptually interesting, Vivaldi for Breakfast failed to deliver a performance tailored to any particular type of audience. For someone coming to appreciate the music, the playing and singing was underwhelming, with numerous moments that lacked support, phrasing or shape, in addition to questionable tuning at times, in addition to more technical slips, such as in incredibly famous Winter. Largo section of the Four Seasons. Nor is it aimed at people for an introduction to classical music and Vivaldi’s work, with one audience member calling it ‘uncompelling’. The blatant sexual references throughout also made it inappropriate for children, although the nature of the jokes were too childish to extract much laughter from the audience. Most of the gags were met with stony silence, with the greatest chuckle being at the arrival of a delivery man wearing a baseball cap, breaking the convention of period dress.

Vivaldi for Breakfast is the product of amateur fumblings into the history of music, with nothing lucrative being gained from this exploration, and it commits the horrific crime of passing up the golden opportunity to engage new audiences in classical music, due to its tendency to drag on. Furthermore, the themes, which were of a sexual and church-bashing nature, seemed inappropriately serious and distasteful for a ten o’clock show. The epilogue that tied together this musical patchwork was also a disappointing end to an already ill-paced show, trying to pass off forty five minutes of the historical inaccuracies of the plot as fact, with no artistic merit in this pursuit. More passion, commitment and vigour to wake up the already drowsy audience would not have gone amiss. 

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The Blurb

Vivaldi’s music is widely heard (think The Four Seasons) in today’s commercial times, but the story of his life betrays the sweetness of his music. Our original play focuses on Vivaldi’s rise to international fame only to be cut down by the inquisition in Venice. Find out what role female musicians play in his eventual downfall. Five actors perform in period costume and four musicians perform Vivaldi’s music on violin, flute, cello and harp arranged for Early Music Maui by Ginny Morgan.

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