When acclaimed novelist Donna Leon is not conjuring up tales of crime and corruption in Venice, or reveling in delicious cuisine, she is listening to music. For Leon, patron of conductor Alan Curtis and his celebrated orchestra Il Complesso Barocco, that usually means the work of her favorite composer, George Frideric Handel.
Over the years, Leon has noticed that the great musician filled his operas with arias that make reference to animals; rich in symbolism, the perceived virtues and vices of the lion, bee, nightingale, snake, elephant, and tiger, among others, resonate in his works. In Handel's Bestiary, Leon draws on her love of Handel and her expertise in medieval bestiaries--illustrated collections of animal stories--to assemble a bestiary of her own. Twelve chapters trace twelve animals through history, mythology, and the arias. Each chapter is joined by whimsical original illustrations by German painter Michael Sowa, and the embedded audio includes each aria, expertly recorded by Il Complesso Barocco. A fascinating, utterly original book, Handel's Bestiary springs to life with Leon's knowledge, passion, and wit.
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About the Author
Donna Leon (1942) is an American crime author known for her Commissario Guido Brunetti series. Leon has lived in Venice since the 1980s and has set all her Brunetti books in Venice. She began writing the series in 1992 with Death at La Fenice and since then has written over two dozen Guido Brunetti books. Her book Friends in High Places won the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger award in 2000. Commissario Guido Brunetti has been adapted for German television.
Date of Birth:February 28, 1942
Place of Birth:Montclair, New Jersey
Education:B.A., 1964; M.A. 1969; postgraduate work in English literature