WNY’s only all early music vocal ensemble ~ And one of the few true all female choirs in the nation!
Did you know Antonio Vivaldi composed the majority of his choral music for an all-female ensemble in Venice?
With Female Tenors, Baritones and Basses?!?
The Women of Vivaldi was founded in Buffalo, NY in 2018 by Suzanne Fatta under the auspices of The Camerata di Sant' Antonio, to promote early music in the Buffalo/Niagara area, and to support full all-female choirs around the nation. Based on the work of the world-famous Vivaldi’s Women ensemble (Oxford UK), as seen on the BBC and Sky Arts, our performances aim to re-create the sound world of Antonio Vivaldi’s Venice, featuring an all female ensemble, with some of Buffalo’s finest singers... including Tenors and Basses!
Vivaldi conducted an all-female ensemble of singers and players at Venice's Ospedale della Pietà - which, along with its three sister institutions, was in equal parts an orphanage, hospital, group home, school, musical conservatory and provider of social services for Venice’s foundlings. Vivaldi wrote the majority of his choral music for the Figlie di Choro (daughters of the choir), those foundlings with musical aptitude and training who performed at Mass and Vespers from behind grilles in the high choir galleries or cantorie of the chapels. We reflect the age range and vocal range of Vivaldi's musicians, with women aged 14 to 60+. The Figlie di Choro, the élite of the Pietà numbering some 60–70 in Vivaldi’s day, had separate rooms and a special diet. A privileged few were allowed to earn extra income by teaching the daughters of wealthy families sent to the Pietà as Figlie in Educazione. The best ones were able to leave the Pietà and become the top opera singers in Europe. The skills of the singers attracted visitors from across Europe and a visit to the Pietà became a feature of the Grand Tour… check out the Rousseau quote below.
Vivaldi’s job was to train those girls who showed musical promise (about one in ten) to sing and play instruments during services at La Pietà. He wrote many works for this establishment, and archival evidence proves that all the vocal parts were sung by women, including Tenor and Bass. He started his career at the Pietà as Maestro di Violin in September 1703, six months after being ordained a priest. In 1714 he was invited to succeed Francesco Gasparini as Maestro di Choro, but refused the post; a short time later, however, he was appointed to the specially created office of Maestro dei Concerti. During this period he wrote his first sacred works, including the well–known Gloria. The musical and organizational leader of the singers - a female - was called La Priora (The Prioress).
The mission of both The WoV and Vivaldi’s Women (directed by Richard Vendome, an international expert on female voices and the Founder of Oxford Girl’s Choir) is based on the findings of Vivaldi researcher Micky White (Antonio Vivaldi. A Life in Documents; L. S. Olschki Editore, Firenze, 2013), which gives us a comprehensive picture of the daily life of this remarkable institution during the 18th century, the heyday of its musical tradition. We even know the names and ages of the women who sang and played at specific times, together with their instruments and voices; in some cases the names of soloists are written into the score in the Maestro’s hand!
Come meet Anna del Basso, Paulina dal Tenor and the other famous singers from the past through The Women of Vivaldi!
La Priora Suzanne, a Baritone, sings Bass with Vivaldi’s Women and is thankful to that group for pioneering research, visibility and performance of Female Tenors, Baritones and Basses in the Western canon. The WoV do not discriminate based on vocal range... this ain't your Grandma's treble choir! Suzanne has dedicated her performance, research, and lecturing careers to celebrating very low female voices, and ending the suppression and oppression of their place in the Western classical canon. She has given Lecture-Recitals for National Opera Week and Forest Lawn Cemetery on the subject, published magazine articles in English and French, and presented at the Feminist Theory & Music Conference (2013) on the suppression of the Low Female Voice. Please click here to learn more about female vocal ranges, and how Vivaldi, Porta, Porpora and other 18th Venetian composers used them.
Lovers of Catholic Music; lovers of Baroque Music; lovers of Venice and Italy; opera aficionados; Gender Studies experts; vocal pedagogues… there’s something in our performances for everyone!
We are proud members of Early Music America.
3pm, Ciminelli Recital Hall, Rockwell Hall, Buff State
Thanks to The Erwin H. Johnson Fund, Inc. for inviting us to be the featured artists for the Buffalo Opera Day Celebration as part of Celebrate National Opera Week 2019. Ivan Docenko, harpsichord. All funds raised at this concert go back into the community, in the form of scholarships, grants, and support to local music organizations. Open to the general public, free-will donation at the door. Our famous dessert reception to follow the performance… enjoy a slice of opera cake and many more special treats!
March 2020 ~ Women of Vivaldi at Kleinhans Centerstage
time and date tba, Kleinhans Music Hall, main stage
Come celebrate Bach’s birthday - and Early Music Month… and Women’s History Month - with The WoV by exploring some of his most playful cantatas, arias and opéra-compique. This intimate concert is right on the main stage of Kleinhans Hall! Only 150 tickets will be available for this Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra event. Stay tuned for more details…
Spring 2020 ~ Women of Vivaldi at Arts Collaboratory
time and date tba, UB Center for the Arts Open Studios, North Campus
We are elated to be featured artists at the 2019/20 Arts Collaboratory initiative through UB’s College of Arts & Sciences. This cross-disciplinary collective — with this semester’s theme of Women and Their Art — is designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between arts departments and programs.
November 2020 ~ Women of Vivaldi at the Ars Nova 42nd annual ‘Viva Vivaldi’ Festival
time, venue and date tba
We will be the featured artists for one of the four weekends during the Viva Vivaldi celebration. We’ll be debuting new repertoire too!
Sunday, February 24, 2019 - CarneValdi: Music Unmasked
7pm, Saint Anthony of Padua
Featuring two of Venice’s best exports - Vivaldi and Carnevale… for CarneValdi! The Camerata di Sant’Antonio presented The Women of Vivaldi singing the master’s works as they were heard in the Ospedale della Pietà! Suzanne performed the aching solo from the opera Il Farnace, ‘Gelido in ogni vena” as it was premiered in 1727, by a Contralto en travesti/ Baritone.
Sunday, June 9, 2019 ~ CARNEVALDI REDUX
7pm, Church of the Assumption
Back by very popular demand... The Camerata di Sant'Antonio and The Women of Vivaldi presented an encore performance of "CarneValdi," featuring the music of Venice. Thanks to our Sponsors: The Coppola Firm, NYS Council on the Arts, Buffalo Siena Cultural Council, The Cullen Foundation, Lion of Renaissance Enterprises LLC, Erie County, The Italian Vice-Consulate