The young Antonio Vivaldi is ordained as a priest in the early 1700’s. He becomes known as “Il Prete Rosso,” The Red Priest, due to his flaming red hair. Venice is at the apex of world trade and culture at that time and is also accorded the dubious distinction of having more gainfully employed courtesans than any other place on earth. Consequently, an epidemic of unwanted babies results in the establishment of many orphanages.
One such orphanage is the Ospedale Della Pieta –-Hospital of Pity where Vivaldi is assigned as Musical Director after a short and unsuccessful time in the priesthood. It is thought that his talents could be put to better use teaching music than delivering mass. His mind is focused more on his music than the needs of his flock and, to compound matters, he suffers from debilitating bouts of asthma which often makes it impossible for him to get through a service The Ospedale’s main source of income is its rather rag tag orchestra of orphaned girls.
It’s not long before Vivaldi’s musical genius and generous spirit win them over. Soon their reputation grows far and wide. Vivaldi’s music is a sea change from the dreary material of the times. Vivaldi and his orphan girls become the desire of all who hear them. Playing, at first, to standing room only audiences of the poor in local churches and then to high society in the grand concert halls of Europe, word eventually filters through to the ears of the Pope. This results in the Pope requesting a special concert on Ascension Day, but the concert does not go down quite as expected…
Writers: Jeffrey Freedman, Boris Damast
Producers: Boris Damast, Andrea Kikot, Michel Shane
Jamie Campbell Bower Vivaldi
Claire Foy Julietta
Sebastian Koch Gavinot
Brian Cox Merlino
Neve Campbell Norina
Alfred Molina Tartini
Jacqueline Bisset Countess Tersigni
Elle Fanning Cristina
Stellan Skarsgard The Bishop