The San Diego City College International Book Fair 09 Spring Literary Series, presented San Diego City College Professor and award winning author Laurel Corona speaking about her latest work, “The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice” in the D building March, 24.
In it’s sixth month of publication, it is already being translated into Spanish, German, and French and is in its second print.
In Introducing “The Four Seasons” Watson enthusiastically spoke of how “‘Vivaldi’s Venice’ will take your breath away.”
“It leaves you hungry for more and more and more,” said Corona.
Professor Corona has written 20 books and her previous work, “Until Our Last Breath: A Holocaust Story of Love and Partisan Resistance” recently received the 09 Christopher Award.
“When you’ve written 20 books you pretty much feel like you’ve written about everything.” Corona said.
A couple of years into teaching, Corona found a line in a Humanities book about Vivaldi working with female orphan musicians in Venice. This was before Google and I-phones, but, “The female orphan musicians jumped into my head and they had claws, Corona said.
Corona did intensive research on Venice, Vivaldi and the Pieta, the orphanage in which Vivaldi worked.
Because of oligarchic attitudes towards marriage, dowries skyrocketed and many children were sent to convents/orphanages.
The particular one in Venice called the Pieta housed 900-1000 women and girls. They worked in factories, kitchens and other areas around the Pieta, which took up a whole city block. Only approximately 40 of these women and girls were musicians.
Women here were very accomplished, but mostly forgotten, with the exception of being linked to their composer teacher, Vivaldi.
Professor Corona showed slides of Venice and two portraits of Vivaldi, who appears as a gentle, intelligent and passionate musician, composer and teacher.
An enlarged slide of the Pieta women in their red and white uniforms was also shown and Corona read pages from her novel.
In order to take the story out of the convent and into the culturally rich City of Venice Corona created two sisters, one inside the convent and one out.
“I did way more research than I ended up needing to do,” said Corona.
Located in the book, The Four Seasons area bookmark, a glossary of Italian words used throughout the book and an author question and answer section.
“Penelope’s daughter” and “The Laws in motion” are two more intriguing titles soon to come from Professor Corona.
The message of The Four Seasons”? Even in very limited circumstances women (and men) have the power to shape our lives.