The season’s first concert featured the music of Italy, whose golden age took place during the Baroque era. Such early 18th-century composers as Tomaso Albinoni, Giovanni Benedetto Platti, Agostino Steffani, and, most importantly, Antonio Vivaldi, left a wealth of ravishing works. The lyrical melodies and flourishes of virtuosity found in the sonatas, concerti, and operas of these composers demonstrate a characteristically Italian sense of romance and love of life. Complementing these Baroque masters are Italy’s most prominent composers from the late 19th century. Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini, though primarily known for their operas, also wrote works for smaller forces with great success.