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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9780434021529
  • Imprint: William Heinemann
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $45.00

Handel's Bestiary




A charming book exploring acclaimed novelist Donna Leon's love of Handel and her expertise in medieval bestiaries

When acclaimed novelist Donna Leon is not conjuring up tales of crime and corruption in Venice, or revelling 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 favourite 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 is joined by whimsical original illustrations by German painter Michael Sowa, and an accompanying CD 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.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9780434021529
  • Imprint: William Heinemann
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $45.00

About the Author

Donna Leon

Donna Leon was named by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers. She is an award-winning crime novelist, celebrated for the bestselling Brunetti series. Donna has lived in Venice for thirty years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. Donna’s books have been translated into 35 languages and have been published around the world.

Her previous novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed; including Friends in High Places, which won the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, Fatal Remedies, Doctored Evidence, A Sea of Troubles and Beastly Things.

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