Item description for Gabriella's Voice by Michael J. Vaughn...
Fifty-year-old Bill Harness is on a strange but seemingly benign journey, rambling across the country in an old Pontiac and anonymously leaving large checks with promising young opera singers. His fuel, however, is sorrow, and it isn't until he arrives in Seattle and befriends Gabriella Compton, a phenomenally talented soprano, that he is able to address the three great tragedies of his vocally gifted family.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.66" Weight: 0.86 lbs.
Release Date Feb 26, 2000
Publisher Dead End Street Publications, LLC
ISBN 1929429959 ISBN13 9781929429950
Availability 137 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 18, 2017 03:13.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Michael J. Vaughn
Vaughn has worked for more than fifteen years as an opera and theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Reviews - What do customers think about Gabriella's Voice?
A Wonderful Tale for an Opera Lover Apr 19, 2004
Let me just start with this statement: I loved this book. I am a budding opera singer, finishing my master's degree in voice performance, and I literally stumbled upon this book. For opera lovers-- and I mean people who love opera for opera's sake, not because it's supposed to be upper class or anything silly like that-- should love this book. Here's a brief glimpse into the book (this is a hard one to describe without giving away subtle plot twists and intricate nuances.) Bill Harness is a 50-something type of vagabond who travels around to various opera companies and distributes money to promising singers and opera houses. In Washington, he stumbles upon a brilliant young opera singer, Gabriella Compton, whose voice not only entrances him, but seems to cry out to his very existence. Gabriella is initially concerned that Bill is just a dirty old man who is trying to seduce her, but they soon become the best of friends. As the book progresses, we catch glimpses of Bill's past and the reasons why Gabriella affects him so much. By the end of the book, I was rooting for Gabriella's career and Bill's catharsis, especially with the surprise ending. Beyond Bill and Gabriella, one encounters a myriad of fantastic characters, including "Jersey" the mezzo-soprano who initially captures Bill's attentions, Joe-- the baritone who reminds me of every baritone that I've ever met, Rodrigo-- the amazing, but nervous toe-tapping tenor, cameo appearances by the diva Licia Albanese, and -- my personal favorite-- the Maestro, Gabriella's teacher and head of the opera company who studied music as a young man with the incomparable Puccini. The thing that is really wonderful about this book is that Vaughn writes like a real person. He views opera as something to be loved and enjoyed, and not necessarily revered or something to cause awe, although he does grant that aspect to his view of Gabriella's performances. I recommend this book whole-heartedly. A basic knowledge of opera and the Italian language may make the read easier, but it is not necessary to enjoy this book. A wonderful read, it is also fast-paced with just enough suspense to keep you guessing. You won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
Interesting Tale Jul 28, 2002
This story is quite interesting. I found the lyrical underpinnings quite... well, as another reviewer wrote, engrossing. The author is very talented in bringing the complexity of opera to the mind of a simpleton like me. I enjoyed another work by this author even more, though. That book, Frosted Glass, is this story on steroids. As good as this book is, that one is quite a bit better. I recommend both, but especially Frosted Glass.
I haven't read this book but i heard it was good. Dec 12, 2001
I know that author neice and she said it was a good book and from the reveiws it looks good.
A year at the Opera Jul 28, 2001
Did you know Michael J. Vaughn's novel "Gabriella's Voice" is being considered for a 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Letters as "distinguished fiction by an American author." Did you know that it started as an e-book. Did you know that this book has been receiving extremely postive reveiws since it was published. Well enough about history, because I found out that the book was an excellant read. I strayed away from this book because I am a music fan but not an opera fan. I recall being trapped in a station wagon as my father listened to the Saturday afternoon opera on radio each week. Tenors I could deal with, but sopranos? I would picture each one looking like Julia Child with Viking horns. I admit that this is a stereotype, but we all have them. I am a fan of e-books and was happy at this book's nomination for a major award. I then picked up a copy and was blown away. I enjoy stories of travel and could really relate to Bill, traveling around after his Diva. Did you say stalker? NO, not the case. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and this is what Bill becomes engulfed in. Mr. Vaughn captures his audience the way a conductor catches ones attention at a symphony and the way a diva draws you in at an opera.
Nitpicking a sour note in a grand aria May 8, 2001
If you were to take a violist and a soprano to the top of a high cliff and pushed them off, which would hit the ground first? Who cares! Actually, the violist will land first. The soprano would stop halfway and ask for direction. Didn't need an appreciation for music or singing to find the humor in that, did ya? Well, you won't need either to appreciate Michael J. Vaughn's "Gabriella's Voice." "Gabriella's Voice" chronicles about a year in the strange but plausible relationship between 50ish Bill Harness and 29 year-old soprano-cum-diva Gabriella Compton. He's got a dubious past whose recent pastime is visiting opera companies and leaving huge anonymous donations, which ultimately leads him to Seattle. She's one of the last of the classically trained "bel canto" singers who dreams of the big time without selling out by resorting to contemporary singing styles. Eventually the pair begins a friendship built more on affection than on romance. Bill's family has apparently been pitched three tragic knuckle balls, the last of which prompted Bill to 'retire early' and go about his philanthropic pilgrimage. Vaughn's vehicle of an operatic novel succeeds in taking this seemingly haughty theatre form away from the high-culture fast lane and swerving it into the carpool lane. Graciously, he keeps the pace at a nice cruising speed to take us on a scenic route of opera company history and hijinks without slowing so as to demystify opera's grace and elegance. It, is, however, just a tour. "GV" will no doubt appeal to the already opera savvy, but probably won't succeed in indoctrinating the uninitiated. Actually, sometimes you may get the feeling that Vaughn is so caught up in peppering his prose with Italian opera lingo or other high-brow theatre-speak that he comes close to betraying an agenda of using his novel as a manifesto about opera-company politics. And just as a baton-waiving, scraggly-haired conductor sometimes places unrealistic demands on the orchestra or the choir, Vaughn's novel occasionally asks the more pragmatic reader to accept Bill's strange requirements in order to tell his tragic stories to a doubtfully eager-to-please Gabriella. The first story is kind of a flick to the nose. The second is like a punch in the gut, and the third like a sledgehammer to the back of the neck. Definitely 20th century family tragedies--no argument there--but they make it difficult to label this a "comic novel." "Gabriella's Voice" is an ambitious story that could have been just as impressive if not for Vaughn's request that we suspend believability a little more than usual for Bill to have his breakdowns and then expect us to believe that the educated, sophisticated Gabriella would actually accommodate him and stroke his oh-so-tragic soul. Eventually, Bill reluctantly begins to trust Gabriella with these three tragedies, but only when she arranges for the time and setting to be just right. The place, the lighting, the ambiance... oh, puh-lease. But that's a minor complaint compared to how Vaughn brilliantly introduces keen insight using poetic descriptive devices rather than stock prose devices to build some memorable and exciting characters and situations. Find a good, Bohemian cafe, one that knows how to prepare a con panna--the right way--and go read this in the large out-of-place chair next to the dusty bookshelf and the old piano nobody ever plays. Just make sure the lighting is just right.