INTERRUPTED ARIA: A Baroque Mystery

Beverle Graves Myers, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (296p) ISBN 978-1-59058-111-7

Myers's absorbing first novel, a historical set in 18th-century Italy, introduces a most unusual hero, Tito Amato, who was sold as a child to be castrated and taught to be an opera singer. In late 1731, Tito and fellow castrato Felice Ravello leave Naples for Tito's native Venice to sing with an opera company owned by a wealthy and powerful family. Myers recreates the opera seria of the time in fascinating detail, from the special stage effects to the vocal pyrotechnics. All Venetians attended the opera and sang the principal arias as popular songs; the narrative was less important and came primarily in spoken recitatifs. During one performance, the prima donna is poisoned, and Felice, who's been working as an instrumentalist since his voice became unstable, is jailed as the chief suspect. Tito is determined to clear his friend and scours the Republic of Venice for evidence of his innocence. Readers familiar with Venice will delight in following Tito through the calli and campi where masked revelers celebrate the Carnivale. (One patrician lady uses a seduction technique that might be useful today.) The complicated plot has twists enough for a 19th-century opera, but Myers neatly ties all the pieces together by the end. Agent, Dan Hooker. (Mar. 15)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-1-4642-0000-7
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