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Interrupted Aria (Tito Amato Series) Hardcover – March 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
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Review

On a chilly day in 1731, two young men arrive in the Italian city of Venice--as besieged then by nature and human frailties as the present-day version so well-chronicled by such mystery writers as Edward Sklepowich and Donna Leon.



Both of the men are castrati--singers who paid the terrible price of sexual mutilation in order to maintain their perfect child soprano voices. One of

them, Tito Amato, returning to his native city after many years in Naples at the famed Conservatorio San Remo, where he perfected his art, is about to become a star. The other, his best friend, Felice Ravello, is a sadder figure: Despite the operation, his voice has cracked and thickened, and he must develop other musical skills to survive.



"Castrati are famous for having the small, delicately formed larynx of a woman and the prodigious lung capacity of a man," says Tito, who is proud of his art but resentful at the price he has paid for it. "I had once witnessed a virtuoso performance by the great Farnelli in Naples. During his arias, all eyes were glued to his face and gestures...Some of the women, and even a few of the men, seemed transported by sensation...They appeared nothing short of enraptured."



The best thing about Beverle Graves Myers' riveting first mystery, which involves the poisoning of a beautiful, aging opera star and the charging of

Ravello with the crime, is how quickly we slip into the world she has so expertly re-created, despite its distance and initial oddness. It's a world where castrati-bashing by gangs of louts on the street (and verbal insults by solid citizens behind closed doors) is a fact of life, where a government would rather have fast action than slow truth, where a powerful businessman buys and sells people along with his other trade goods. Sound like any place you know? -- Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune (3.21.04)

"Myers's absorbing first novel, a historical novel 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 a 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." --Publishers Weekly

Beverle Graves Myers

brings eighteenth-century

Venice shimmering to

life in this fast-paced and

unsettling mystery that

boasts atmosphere, layers

of intrigue and, in Tito

Amato, a most compelling

protagonist. A virtuoso debut.

-- Ross King, author of Brunellschi's Dome

"Bev Myers hits all the right notes with her first mystery, Interupted Aria. She weaves a wonderful addition to the rich world of theatre mysteries with Tito Amato, a rising castrato in 18th Century Venice. The melding of a great mystery and fascinating characters makes me wanting an encore!"--Jeffrey Marks, author of the U.S. Grant mysteries
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Product Details

  • Series: Tito Amato Series
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; US ed edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590581113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590581117
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,948,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Beverle Graves Myers' debut mystery novel immensely -- lush, vivid and very, very absorbing, "Interrupted Aria" turned out to be the kind of mystery novel that both intrigued and entertained, and that was very good read.
In eighteenth century Europe, the castrati (male singers who, for the sake of their beautiful voices, were castrated as boys) occupy contradictory positions in society: on the one hand they are much sought after and feted; but on the other hand they are also, privately, often viewed with disgust and embarrassment by the very ones who prize their talents. For Tito Amato, a young castrato, having to cope with both the scorn and the adulation is taxing and confusing -- for while he enjoys singing and the effect that his amazing voice has on his listeners, he also loathes the fact that it was this mutilation to his manhood that has made him so sought after. Which makes his return to Venice all the more bittersweet. How will his family greet him? Will they embrace after so many years of separation, or will they, too like others, be repulsed and embarrassed by his condition? And on top of it all there are his suspicions about the so-called accident that resulted in his castration...
But most of this fades into the background as Tito finds himself emersed in the goings on at the Teatro San Stefano -- the strange accidents that are plaguing the company and the rivalry between the company's likable and talented star, Adelina Belluna (who also happens to be the mistress of the company's patron, Domenico Viviani), and Caterina Testi, her testy rival. And when on opening night, the Adelina keels over and dies just before the second act, everyone suspects poison.
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Format: Hardcover
Filled with lush description of Venice during Carnivale, its political and social structure, the inner workings of the opera company and Tito's relationships with his family, friends, colleagues and himself, this is a rich, wonderful book. I also found it a good mystery with a couple of twists and some good suspense. This is a series I shall definitely follow.
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Format: Hardcover
Interrupted Aria by Beverle Graves Myers is a page turner. Mystery buffs who like exotic settings will find themselves immersed in the seedy decadence and grand opulence of 18th century Venice. Myers does an excellent job of "setting the stage" with well defined characters and vivid literary descriptions of the early lore of opera without the history lessons. I love anything opera related, so when I saw this book, I thought it would be worth reading. Little did I know, that once started, I could not put this book down.
It all begins with Tito Amato, a castrato soprano, who has returned to his city of Venice to sing at the San Stefano Opera House. Shortly after he arrives, one friend is murdered while another stands accused. Time quickly ticks away as Tito searches for the identity of the true killer before his friend is put to death. Meanwhile, with each passing hour, the pressure intensifies as Tito tries to avoid encounters with the murky associates of those who would like to see him fail for their own nefarious purposes.
In addition to a well written mystery, I was pleasantly surprised to find there were so many other levels to this book. Myers is quite empathetic in describing Tito, who as a castrato is revered for his voice while at the same time reviled because he is not seen as a whole man.
Whether you are a mystery fan, opera fan, or both, this book is a must read. It is well developed throughout with enough plots and twists to keep you guessing until the end. I hope to read more by Myers in the near future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written with a decent plot overall (a few good, unexpected turns), though it did drag a little at times. Characters were a little flat and not always realistic - for example, I thought the little sister behaved like she was more around 8 - 10 years old, not 13! I get that the reader was seeing her through the family's eyes, who still saw her as a child and coddled her because of her illness but even with that in mind I felt her behavior was too childish or childlike for her age.
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Format: Hardcover
Interrupted Aria concerns a Venetian castrato struggling to solve a murder mystery while uncovering secrets about his own past. The story begins with Tito Amato returning to Venice after many years of training at a music conservatory. Felice, his friend who is agonizing over the loss of his voice, tags along. Before the close of Tito's opera debut, a prima donna is murdered and Felice is arrested. There are several red herrings in this densely plotted mystery, and it won't give anything away to say that, in the detecting phase of the story, all Tito's sinister family secrets come tumbling out of the closet. This book is based on a piece of history that is seldom mentioned, but the characters, especially Tito are so intriguing that it all comes beautifully alive. I look forward to a sequel.
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By Jan on January 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interrupted Aria: A Tito Amato Mystery (Tito Amato Series), by Beverle Graves Myers Interrupted Aria: A Tito Amato Mystery (Tito Amato Series) was a trip through a historical aspect I have never encountered before. Although I have heard of the Castrati, I have never heard much about their trainig, where they might have come from, or anything about what their lives might have been like during or after their careers as singers. Myers gave me a three-dimensional insight into what that might have been, but also into what life in 18th Century Italy might have been. Tito's confusion, his emotions about his condition, his talent, his skill, his rage at his losses, his joy in his ability to excell and entertain...all weave a lovely tapestry of depth and dimmension in a colorful past. I felt every feeling, heard every sound, loved every minute of it. I hope you will also. Amazon.com, Kindle books, and we, the readers win again.
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