Handel's Bestiary

In Search of Animals in Handel's Operas
Author(s): Donna Leon
Original Publish Date: Apr 05, 2011
Product Number: EB00667282
Released: Apr 14, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780802195616
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Please log in to view pricing


The New York Times–bestselling author delivers "a real tour de force" celebrating the fauna in Handel's operas—with original illustrations by Michael Sowa (News—Austria). When acclaimed novelist Donna Leon is not conjuring up tales of crime and corruption in Venice—or appreciating its delicious cuisine—she revels in music. And for Leon, 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. Here, Leon draws on her love of Handel and her expertise in medieval bestiaries, illustrated collections of animal stories, to assemble a one of her own—twelve chapters that trace twelve animals through history, mythology, and the Handel arias they inhabit. Each exploration is joined by whimsical original illustrations by German painter Michael Sowa. A fascinating, utterly original book that is "as clever as it is entertaining," Handel's Bestiary springs to life with Leon's knowledge, passion, and wit (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung—Germany).

Sign up for our email newsletter