back  back to homepage

This three day course is open to amateur female singers of all ages and will culminate in a performance of Vivaldi’s spectacular Dixit Dominus (RV 595) and other works. It will be led by the Artistic Director and staff of Vivaldi’s Women (Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi), the unique all-female ensemble featured on the BBC4 programmes 'Gloria' and ‘Vivaldi’s Women’. 

Vivaldi's Women aims to recreate the sound of Vivaldi's Figlie di Choro, those foundlings at Venice's Ospedale della Pietà who performed at Mass and Vespers hidden behind grilles in the high choir galleries. It reflects the age range (11 to 80+) and vocal range of the women musicians, some of whom sang tenor and bass.

click here to listen to Vivaldi's Women sing the opening of Dixit Dominus...

The detective work of Vivaldi researcher Micky White, the former Wimbledon photographer who lives near the Pietà in Venice, 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 of the women - such as the legendary violinist Anna Maria and soprano Appolonia, Cecilia dal Contralto, Paulina dal Tenor, and Anna dal Basso - which instruments they played and which parts they sang: in some cases their names are written into the music.

click here to listen to a female bass/tenor/contralto trio...

The course will offer participants the opportunity to:

  • Peps and Annalearn more about the history of Vivaldi’s all-female choir (which included female tenors and basses) and orchestra at Venice's Ospedale della Pietà.
  • explore the vocal techniques and training methods which give Vivaldi's Women their distinctive sound.
  • explore your voice and vocal range – particularly the lower range. There are undiscovered women tenors and basses out there!
    click here to learn more...
  • enjoy one-to-one tuition on baroque vocal technique and style; sing alongside mentors from the Vivaldi’s Women.
  • printed music and other material will be available to those who take part.
  • the course will end with a concert given by the participants.

dates:   Monday 24 August – Wednesday 26 August 2009, 10am - 4pm

venue:   Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LW  [click here for map] in central Oxford, close to coach and rail links and to Park-and-Ride.

cost:   the three day course will cost £180 (£60 per day), to include all training and tuition, talks, refreshments and a light lunch. There will be a concessionary rate of £150 (£50 per day) for senior citizens, students, ES40 holders, and disabled people (a carer accompanying a disabled person will be offered a free place). Men are welcome to attend as observers at the concessionary rate.

accommodation:   a list of places to stay is available on request.


Richard Vendome (artistic director)
RVRichard studied at the Royal College of Music before winning a scholarship to the Queen's College, Oxford, and continuing his keyboard studies with James Dalton and Susi Jeans. He has held research fellowships in computing at Oxford University, he continues to perform as an organist, harpsichordist and piano accompanist, and has a large number of singing pupils. Encouraged by the late Prof. Denis Arnold, an authority on Vivaldi and the women musicians of Venice, he founded the Oxford Girls' Choir in 1984. His special interests include the psychology of music and female musical traditions, such as those of Hildegard and the Venetian ospedali.

Penelope Martin-Smith (vocal tutor)
PMS'Peps' read Music and German at Goldsmiths, University of London, and studied singing with Henry Herford and Jessica Cash. She has a performing diploma from the Guildhall School of Music. A coloratura soprano with a wide range, she has sung a diversity of roles from medieval to jazz, including Mozart's Queen of the Night, Purcell's Dido and Britten's Mrs Noah. She recently formed Canterbury Cathedral Garden Opera, which performed Mozart's Marriage of Figaro this season. She is Assistant Musical Director of Oxford Youth Choirs and has singing pupils ranging in age from 5-80.

Bridget Cunningham (stylistic tutor)
BCBridget studied harpsichord and organ with Robert Woolley at Southampton University and the Royal College of Music, where she is currently a Junior Fellow and vocal coach. She performs, researches and teaches baroque style and ornamentation at the RCM and prepares singers for the London Handel Festival competition. Last year she won a travel scholarship from the Finzi Trust to research and perform early music of Handel's time in Ireland. She has worked with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Touring Opera, Ulster Orchestra, Opera Theatre Company, and Irish Chamber Orchestra. She performs regularly with her groups Emerald Baroque, Fleuri and Iberian Archive.

to reserve a place or request more information, please click here or call Vivaldi's Women on +44 (0)1865 250416

back  back to homepage