+Blog Book Tour+ The Tenor by Peter Danish

Posted Friday, 4 April, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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The Tenor by Peter Danish

Published By: Pegasus Books () 28 February 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Facebook | Twitter | Danish Media Group
Converse via: #TheTenorVirtualTour & #MariaCallas
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, and E-Book
Page Count: 350

Acquired By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Tenor” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy the book direct from the author Peter Danish, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I was always keen to read & watch Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as it spoke to me at the time the film was being released. I never did get the proper chance to explore its story, but as I read about this book being hinged to history as it was lived I decided to take the chance now to read a powerful & evoking story of courage! I’m an appreciator of opera as well, and I find it rather keen that a singer was saved by one man’s selfless act to protect her!

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Book Synopsis:

The Tenor is a sweeping tale of historical fiction in the style of Ann Patchett’s “Bel Canto” and De Burniere’s “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.” It swiftly moves from Pino Vaggi’s youth in pre-war Italy, to his coming of age as a soldier in war-torn Greece, before ending in a shattering surprise finale at Maria Callas’ historic final performance ever on the stage of New York’s Metropolitan Opera House in 1965. It is based loosely on the stories and anecdotes that I learned from several of Maria Callas’ personal friends and from nearly a dozen trips to Italy and Greece to research the subject.

Pino Vaggi is not like the other children in Italy in 1930. While they play soccer, he listens to opera. By age ten, he is already a child prodigy, an opera singing sensation on the fast track to a major international career. On the eve of his debut, WWII breaks out. The theater is closed. The season is cancelled. Pino is drafted. He is stationed in war-torn Athens, where he hears and ultimately falls in love with another child prodigy, the young Maria Callas. There is one major problem: she is the enemy.

However, as famine devastates Athens, (a famine created by the diversion of humanitarian aid meant for the Greeks to the Russian front to feed the German Army) the artist in Pino can’t fathom the thought of the greatest singer the world will ever know perishing, especially if he is in a position to prevent it. With a firing squad in the balance, he repeatedly risks his own life to protect and feed the young girl and her family. In the process, his love for her deepens, until something tragic happens – something with devastating consequences that blows the young lovers apart.

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Author Biography:

Peter Danish

Peter Danish is the Classical Music Editor in Chief for BWWClassical.com, the classic music site for BroadwayWorld.com,, covering and reviewing the classical music performance in and around New York City and the greater New York Area. A proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, he is the playwright of the play: “Gods, Guns and Greed,” as well as the new musical: “The Flying Dutchman.” His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ad Age, Ad Week and Media Week Magazines.

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Artistically Determined:

One thing I have always known about artists, is that they are artistically determined to make it on their own terms. Pino Vaggi in the story of The Tenor, is clearly one of those self-confident musical artists whose bold grit in succeeding in singing opera is what thrust him forward whilst his family was a bit less than certain of his choice. Coming from a family who supported my choices, whether I was pursuing art, science, or writing it’s hard to understand why other parents wouldn’t help their children reach for their own dreams. To pursue the gifts they were bestowed and to give them the courage to find their own voice and path. The hardest road an artist has is finding the ability to believe in the impossible because the mark of any artist is how willing they are to stay on their path whilst their road becomes muddled and difficult.

I appreciated the honesty of Pino’s character being painted as a young artist whose misguided brassy personality oft lended him to rows with his family but is his grace of voice gave him purpose from the darkness. Growing up in the age of looming war, the fact that Pino could keep a grip on his artistic soul is impressive.

My Review of The Tenor:

Danish has the ability to ease you into the story-line of The Tenor, by giving you a reason to hone in on Pino! First through recollections of his aromatic memories inter-related to chestnuts, and then, gradually as we start to see the underpinnings of his passion for opera emerge into place! I appreciated the intimate portrait of how a young Pino fell in love with the beauty of opera whilst caught up in a French rendition of Romeo & Juliet! His unexpected emotional connection to the voices and music was a pure joy to read. Music is evoking on such deep levels, each time we individually listen to opera or another form of music, a part of us is transformed; altered for the performance in which we took in. I remember vividly how I felt whilst listening to orchestrations and symphonies as a child, how the music washed over me and inside me at the same time. You become a part of where the musicians are leading you as music is one art form which transcends outside of itself to a greater purpose.

The setting in which Danish places his novel comes alive with the full breath of Italian countryside living lit inside the sturdiness of the people who lived there. He envelopes the story around the everyday interchanges of Pino’s townespeople, whilst giving a greater scope to the impending war between Italy & Ethiopia. Politically charged, we get inside the mind-set of Pino’s father’s beliefs as much as the harrying realities of Italy in the early decades of the 20th Century. The tug-of-war between Pino’s teacher and himself gave a clear view of how you have to develop strength whilst your young to be brave in hours you feel the least able to stand up for yourself. His teacher pushed him past where he felt he could take his voice because his belief in his abilities was paramount to where he viewed Pino could strive in the future to succeed as a tenor.

War is such a heavy hand to be dealt when your young, and seeing the beguiling ignorance and diffidence towards those who are different weighted on Pino’s shoulders and heart. I can imagine that whilst he struggled to find a grasp on the changing world outside, so too were those who were dealing with countries being invaded and worlds being turnt upside down by World War II. Innocence evaporates when the world arrives at one’s feet. The war is very much a part of the story, but only as a backdrop to the whole. In this, I am grateful to Danish, whose sole focus in on Pino.

A tightrope of a dance between Maria (Callas) and Pino grew out of their affection for opera and the innate gift bestowed to both of them which gave them a tie to each other. They were each on the opposite side of the war, Pino was serving in the army and Maria was in Greece employed as a singer. Their lives were ill-fated to intersect at a point in their lives where tragedy and solace would find them. They carved out happiness within the shadows of a dictator’s reign and what they shared amongst them was fit with humour and the joy of singing. They understood each other in ways they both were transfixed by as it isn’t often you can meet someone who understands every inch of you without needing definition. As they each went their separate ways after the war, it show their fates ended up crossing once more that truly was remarkable.

Here is where truth and the shadows of history differ as the story is based on an unknown soldier who could not have survived the war. I think its a more befitting story for Pino to have survived the war and survived in the way he had, as it hardened his character a bit with worldly experience. To think there was a Pino who lived long enough to effectively save Maria Callas is the most incredible part of the story! Where one life is given in order to ensure the freedom of another. And, for Pino his life took an alternative course which would have endeared him to his teacher who gave him the best insight into how to live a life full of worth.

The beauty of opera is revealed:

Peter Danish gives a wonderful introduction into opera, which will satisfy the novice appreciator as much as the devouted follower. The vulgarity used in the story is relegated to the blights of war and thus, are not something I would flinch over as war is war, and the most shocking of realities for all men is being caught up in the face of war. What exits one’s lips whilst a chest is heavy with confliction over the impending approach of a World War arriving at your door is not a mark against language or story; but a notation of how those who lived might have reacted themselves. His writings inside the novel read as part travelogue and part historical remanent of a past most of us might not have recovered without this story.

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This book review  is courtesy of:

The Tenor Tour via HFVBTcheck out my upcoming bookish events and mark your calendars!

Previously, I interviewed Mr. Danish on behalf of “The Tenor”!

The Tenor by Peter Danish Book Trailer by Peter Danish

{SOURCES:  “The Tenor” Book Cover, synopsis, and tour badge were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and were used by permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. The book trailer by Peter Danish had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 4 April, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Debut Novel, Geographically Specific, Greece, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Italy, Magical Realism, Maria Callas, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, New York City, Opera History, Opera Singers, Passionate Researcher, The World Wars, Vulgarity in Literature

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