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Reviewed by Lauren Cannavino
In the city of Milan, opera is life to twenty-five year old Giovanni Tempesta. Born to poor, Sicilian parents, Giovanni does not have the financial means nor the formal musical training to extend his love of the opera to much beyond singing part-time at Angelo’s, a local restaurant, that is close to the famous opera house La Scala. Giovanni’s love of music, his vast knowledge of the operatic greats and even his striking tenor singing voice, were all passed down from his beloved father Franco who died in a car accident. With a passionate wish to honor his father, as well as his own dreams, Giovanni dreams of one day singing himself at the historic La Scala. As friends, family, potential benefactors and music teachers continue to shoot down his dreams; Giovanni soon feels he will never fulfill his passion.
One Saturday night singing at Angelo’s, Giovanni soon finds his attention drawn to a beautiful young lady in the audience. Isabella is the eighteen-year old daughter of a prominent, wealthy judge, who forbids his daughter to speak to or see Giovanni due to his social rank. As Isabella and Giovanni realize their connection, he soon also realizes that he must do anything that he can to make his dreams a reality in order to be accepted by Isabella’s family and win her love. After entering the local retirement home Casa di Riposo that is exclusively for musicians and performers, Giovanni meets Signor Alfredo del Monte who agrees to teach and coach him in exchange for only his company and to share their love of opera. Alfredo also asks Giovanni to place him front row at La Scala when he makes it as an opera singer. Giovanni’s progress and failures rise and fall as his adulthood progresses and throughout it all, he continues to grow. There is an unspoken theme of the importance of relationships and the lessons that can be learned from every interaction. The love and hardships that Giovanni endures with Isabella, his family, himself and opera all manage to strike a chord on an emotional level that makes the reader want nothing more than for him to be happy and successful.
The use of operatic arias, essentially the lyrics, throughout the story and blended into the dialogue is a powerful creative tool used by Vincent B. LoCoco. These passages are used to share his love and knowledge of opera and add a higher level of dimension to the conversations in the story. LoCoco’s Giovanni is a careful, dedicated dreamer, a character that faces the odds stacked against him and yet still manages to keep his head up, remain noble and follow his heart. Tempesta’s Dream is a joyous story of art, opera, dedication and love.
Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com.
Review and giveaway copies were provided by Vincent B. LoCoco. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.