By Rachel M. Anderson, Freelance Writer

(Sussex, England) - If Giuseppe Verdi were alive today, he would be singing the praises of one of his biggest fans. The latest novel by Margarida Mota-Bull, who writes under the pen name M G da Mota, was inspired by one of the Italian composer's greatest masterpieces, the 19th century opera Rigoletto.

"My father was always very passionate about opera. He sang as an amateur tenor when he was young in a local choir in our hometown in Portugal," she said. "When we were children, he used to watch opera and classical music on television with me and my brother and he would explain to us how the music worked, the types of voices, why one was better than the other, the kind of interpretation and technical aspects and all that."

All the time she spent around opera definitely left an impression on a young Margarida. So it should come as no surprise that once she started writing fiction, there had to be one novel centered on her father's favorite opera. "The female character in Verdi's Rigoletto is called Gilda. At the end of the story, she dies in her father's arms, trying to protect her lover who is actually a totally horrible person. I modeled the Gilda in my book after her," said Mota-Bull.

But that is where the similarities in the story line end. The Gilda in Canto di Tenore, which is Italian for "Song of a Tenor," is a beautiful, professional woman in a loveless marriage who wishes her life had turned out differently. She enjoys opera very much, and one day by chance unknowingly meets one of the most talented tenors in the world.

The first time she and Riccardo Vincenzo Rivera meet, Gilda has no idea who he is, only that he was a kind stranger who had helped comfort her after her mother's death. The second time they meet, she is in the audience as he sings one of her favorite operas. It isn't long before they fall in love. Before they can be together, however, they have to get past all the roadblocks in their way. The two biggest challenges they face are Gilda's guilt about betraying her husband and the assistant to the tenor's manager, Samuel Slade, a fanatically religious man who does not approve of their relationship.

As the story develops, readers get a front row seat to the inner workings of a traveling show, and learn more about opera than most people will ever know. Mota-Bull says the research for Canto di Tenore was long and extensively detailed. "I wanted very much for all references to the technical aspects of singing '" how singers prepare themselves, how they study '" to sound authentic in the book."

So, in addition to researching the operas themselves, Mota-Bull interviewed several singers, including the famous Peruvian opera singer Juan Diego Florez and, later while editing the book, American tenor Lawrence Brownlee.

In his review of the book, Patrick C. Waller of MusicWeb International pointed out its deliberate resemblance to a tangled opera plot saying, "The author writes fluently and seems on firmer ground dealing in the worlds of opera and languages than murder. Nevertheless this became, for me, a page turner -- .. Novels with operatic overtones aren't two-a-penny and, if that idea appeals, this comes highly recommended."

Mota-Bull thinks that Verdi, one of her favorite composers, would have enjoyed the book as well. "I'd like to think that Verdi would have been pleased with it. He may have even decided to put it to music. He liked dramas and I wrote the book in that way."

Canto di Tenore is available for purchase at the online bookstore, M G da Mota's Vanished, a story of faked identities, murder, blackmail, self-sacrifice and also love, which ultimately transforms an egocentric, selfish man into a caring and generous person, is also available for purchase on the site.

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About M G da Mota

M G da Mota has a Masters Degree in Modern Languages and Literature and is fluent in four languages. She grew up and studied in Portugal and, after graduation, lived in Germany for a while before moving to England. She is very interested in classical music, opera, literature and history.

Under a different surname (Mota-Bull), she currently writes reviews of CDs, DVDs, books and live concerts for an international, distinguished classical music magazine on the website: As part of her work for this web magazine, she has conducted interviews with famous people in the world of classical music and opera, as for example, Americans Joyce DiDonato and Lawrence Brownlee. Examples of her work can be found on her online portfolio,

M G da Mota currently works part-time in the IT department at an American Express office in England, but hopes that in the not-so-distant future she will able to work as a professional writer full-time. She presently lives in Sussex, England, with her British husband.

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