By NICOLE WINFIELD
ROME (AP) — The Catholic Church and the northern Italian city of Ferrara are making their peace with Antonio Vivaldi nearly 300 years after the city’s archbishop effectively canceled the staging of one of his operas. Ferrara Archbishop Giancarlo Perego is attending the opening Thursday of Vivaldi’s “Il Farnace” at the city’s public theater. The theater’s artistic director is hailing his presence as a “marvelous gesture.” According to historians, when the archbishop of Ferrara banned Vivaldi from the city, it effectively meant the cancellation of a scheduled 1739 production of his opera. The reason? Vivaldi, an ordained Catholic priest, had stopped celebrating Mass and was said to be in a relationship with one of his singers. The cancellation proved financially disastrous for Vivaldi.