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Pinchgut Opera Showcases Vivaldi’s Women of the Pietà

September 10, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - September 11, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

Pinchgut Opera, Australia’s specialists in Baroque vocal and orchestral music, presents Women of the Pietà, a collection of music by Vivaldi, performed in both Sydney and Melbourne and featuring and ensemble of female singers. Together with the Orchestra of the Antipodes, it re-creates the splendour and beauty of the music performed by the women and girls of the Ospedale della Pietà, the renowned home for orphaned girls in Venice where Vivaldi was one of its most famous teachers.

Curated by Artistic Director Erin Helyard, Women of the Pietà features the great Australian soprano and Baroque specialist Miriam Allan, who drew international acclaim when she performed at Prince Phillip’s funeral in London in 2021. Miriam will be joined by a glorious chorus of 11 women including soprano Amy Moore and Chloe Lankshear and mezzo-sopranos Stephanie Dillon and Hannah Fraser with an ensemble of expert orchestral players, who include flautist Mikaela Oberg and horn players Carla Blackwood, and Dorée Dixon, highlighting the female talent of the Orchestra of the Antipodes, conducted by Erin Helyard.

The ospedali were a uniquely Venetian institution. Inaugurated by the Serene Republic as state-run shelters for poor or illegitimate children, they provided the first formal music education for female musicians outside the convent. Four of Venice’s ospedali became centres of musical excellence: the Incurabili, the Dereletti, the Mendicanti and the Pietà. Between 1585 and 1855 the ospedali employed the very best professional musicians in Europe to educate the women who boarded there and in the early 18th century, the Pietà boasted the most famous musician of them all: Antonio Vivaldi.

The Women of the Pietà showcases the sacred music written for the female virtuosi of the Pietà when Vivaldi was providing them with training and music. The concert will begin with a double horn concerto that could have been featured in concerts at the Pietà. Also included in the program is Vivaldi’s sublime Magnificat in its female choral version as conceived for the Pietà and two virtuosic and sparkling motets written for the Pietà’s star vocal pupils. The concert will also feature the Australian premiere of the glorious Dixit Dominus by Galuppi, who worked at the rival institution the Incurabili. Helyard was inspired to create this program to celebrate the music written at a unique time in Vivaldi’s career, with the divine element of the female voice at its heart.

Women of the Pietà by Vivaldi will be performed in Sydney at  and in the Melbourne Recital Centre.

The Sydney performance of Women of the Pietà will be filmed for digital release on Pinchgut At Home, premiering on Thursday 29 September. Visit athome.pinchgutopera.com.au for more details.

CITY RECITAL HALL, SYDNEY Sat 10 Sept, 2pm and Sun 11 Sept, 5pm
MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE Thurs 15 Sept, 7pm and Fri 16 Sept, 7pm


City Recital Hall and online
2 Angel Place
Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia
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