Arm in arm, they trod the cobbled streets to the city square. Bellini pointed to two birds nesting close, one white, the other speckled grey. “They are always together,” he told Maddalena …
“Doves live in pairs,” said Maddalena. “And they stay that way for life.”
“As we shall,” said Bellini.
This beautiful picture book tells the story of the Italian composer Bellini’s career and his forbidden romance. As a young man studying music in Naples he meets and falls in love with Maddalena, but when her parents refuse to allow them to marry, he vow that he will become successful and they will be together after he has written his tenth opera. Living apart, the two pine for each other, and by the time the tenth opera is written both have broken hearts. Their deaths mean that they can be together forever just as promised.
This is a sad tale, based on the true story of Vincenzo Bellini, and includes a brief back of book note on his story and his operas. The digital illustration work of Sonia Kretschmar is breathtaking, with mystic elements such as the siren beckoning from the piano as he writes to Maddalena giving the reader much to think about.
Suitable for middle primary and older readers, this is an outstanding picture book.
Song of the Dove, by Errol Broome & Sonia Kretschmar
Walker Books, 2011
this book can be purchased from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.