Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beverle Graves Myers's "Whispers of Vivaldi"

Beverle Graves Myers is the author of Whispers of Vivaldi and five previous mystery novels featuring Tito Amato, the 18th-century sleuth with a stellar talent for sleuthing. A former psychiatrist, Myers divides her time between Louisville, Kentucky and southwest Florida.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of the series:
Tito Amato is a castrato soprano, a star of the 18th-century opera stage, who sings and sleuths in the last days of the Venetian Republic. The brutal surgery forced on him as a young boy could have easily made him a bitter man, but in Tito’s case, the physical violation led to empathy for anyone wronged by the decadent, repressive society around him. A carnival dwarf, the Jews of the Venetian ghetto, a wise woman of the Old Religion, a murdered servant whose master would like to simply to forget her—Tito seeks justice for all.

What actor would I cast as Tito? Who would be brave enough to accept the role?

There’s always been only one. Johnny Depp. He was my pick when I started the series and he still is. Depp can do any role with sensitivity, charm, and style. I would trust him to study the castrato phenomenon until he could do a pitch perfect rendition of this character who would be utterly foreign to most people of the 21st century. Depp could breathe life into Tito.

But what about the music? Tito’s story couldn’t be filmed without a display of his magnificent singing.

I’ve got that covered. Depp can sing—he proved it in the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He’s not particularly good, and certainly not a soprano, but he’s obviously a competent enough singer to act as if he is. For the actual sound, the filmmaker could use a technique employed in Farinelli, the story of another castrato, a real historical figure who is acknowledged as the greatest singer of the baroque era. To recreate the range and timbre of Farinelli’s stupendous voice, the performances of a female soprano, Ewa Malas-Godlewska, and a male counter-tenor, Derek Lee Ragin, were digitally merged. The result is a seamlessly perfect castrato voice—much like Tito’s.
Visit Beverle Graves Myers' website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Beverle Graves Myers.

--Marshal Zeringue