Two men in love with music are at the centre of this novel. Tonio is a youth from a noble Venetian family who sneaks out at night to sing in the streets. His future marriage and happiness is destroyed when a jealous rival has him kidnapped and castrated. Guido is a peasant sold into the world of song at six who rises to the top of the class and performs at the opera in Rome. At age 18 he tragically loses his voice. Tormented by this loss, Guido plunges himself into composition and searches for another wonderful voice. He eventually finds Tonio and becomes his teacher.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This was an enjoyable novel. Anne Rice’s descriptions of 18th Century Italy are vivid and enthralling. The history of the castrati and their superstar status was a fascinating topic and Rice has obviously done her research. Some members thought the emphasis on Tonio’s sex life became a little repetitive, but we all enjoyed the story.