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Defeating Silence: A novel/opera by Tanya Henderson

Do you want someone else to decide what art you get to see, read, hear, or otherwise appreciate?

Well, that's what happens when art is turned into a business; when someone else decides whether or not a piece of art-subjective by its very nature-is worthy to present to the public. This decision, however, is based, for the most part, on the marketability of the work (how much money is the public willing to spend on it).

There are several irritating qualities to this process though:

These are not easy tasks for anyone to undertake, but unfortunately that's how it is ...
for some works of art ...

Disclaimer: Don't let the opening statements mislead you. I'm not a frustrated author who has been rejected by all the agents and publishers known to mankind. I have the utmost respect for those people in the industry who work very hard to make a living selling art. I also have a great deal of respect for the artists who wish to make a living off of their art, it's not easy and my hat goes off to them. I, on the other hand, don't want to make a living off of my writing. I only want to share something that I find entertaining and think others might as well. To find out the reasons behind the opening statements, take a look at the 'What is Defeating Silence about?' and 'About the author' links below, or download and read the book.

This site is dedicated to delivering my art to the world, free of charge-without the filters of business-for you to decide for yourself whether or not you like Defeating Silence.

You can find out more about the book, how to get the book, and myself by following the links below:

What is Defeating 
Silence about? Read the 
About the 
author What others are saying 
about Defeating Silence
Readers' Comments page Reader Feedback Form
How to download the full and 
free PDF of Defeating Silence How to borrow one of 
the nifty, handcrafted, hardback versions of Defeating 
Changes made in version 7 Links to other great 

Read eBook Review Weekly's Patricia Spork's review of Defeating Silence


What Defeating Silence is about

Note: An understanding or even liking of opera is not fundamental to the enjoyment of this book

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Read the first 2 pages of the Prologue

If you would like to get a better idea of what Defeating Silence is about, click on either one of the two links below to read the first 2 pages of the Prologue.

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What others are saying about Defeating Silence

"It's a page scroller."--Juliana Hughes, creator of The Cursed Girl role in Defeating Silence

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"A wonderful tribute to Opera and I love the nifty, handcrafted, hardback version of the book. Keep my $10, I'm not returning it!"--Pierre RÍveur, The Tenor of Defeating Silence

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"A juicy glimpse into the life of a superstar opera singer. Fantastic stuff!"--Cosmo Caspari, conductor of Defeating Silence

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"An adept merging of various styles, and yet, the author maintains a healthy respect for the reader. Brava, well done."--Yvette Descours, known for her acclaimed portrayal of The Tenor's Wife in Defeating Silence

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"It's a refreshingly novel opera. The reader plays the role of an audience member watching a performance of an opera about the creation of an opera, which is about the power of communication. It's an intriguing work that subtly enlists the reader to participate in its creation and at the same time begs the reader to think about what is being read."--Kendra Samuels, journalist in Defeating Silence with a reputation for reporting the truest version of every story

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"Better books may be found at an online or a local bookstore."--Someone Else, mentioned above

Real Readers' Comments

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About the author

First and foremost, I am a practical person-I learn by doing. Second, I make a living outside the world of art. And last, I love opera, with a special affection for Pietro Mascagni's work.

I wrote Defeating Silence for two reasons. One, as a way to preserve my sanity. The characters were in my head, repeating the same scene-driving me insane-until I started recording their actions. And two, I wanted to do what I could to put an end to a frustrating decade (or more) in my life. Years ago, I heard a fantastic aria from Nerone, Mascagni's last opera. I was moved by the aria and wanted to hear the entire opera-thus began my quest. After two years of visiting every music store in the D.C. area, I finally found the Bongiovanni recording. This, however, only ignited my desire to see it performed. It wasn't. No one would stage it. Why?

A little research on the opera and the composer revealed a handful of rumors that have now become rote dismissings of the work. These rumors didn't make sense to me. They even seemed contradictory to the story of the opera and the events surrounding its creation. I won't discuss the details of my research here because it's just my opinion and the theme of my next novel. If you're interested though, read Defeating Silence, look into the subject yourself, and form your own opinion based on what you find (then wait until my second book is available, if your interest persists). A great place to start your research is at Erik Bruchez's website: This is a tremendous resource for all things concerning Mascagni.

Feeling as if I had no power to change the rote, I accepted the fact that I'll probably never see Mascagni's opera performed in this country. That was, until the characters started dancing around in my head, as I mentioned above. While following their dance, I came to the realization that without a voice-not enough people knowing about it-Nerone had no chance to be seen and, a more important realization, I could do something about that. Defeating Silence now had a purpose (other than to preserve my sanity).

As the book started to take shape, it became less about drawing attention to a specific opera or composer and more about the importance of communication. Defeating Silence turned out to be a voice for all works of art with Nerone (for better or worse) representing the silenced ones.

There was one caveat though, Defeating Silence also represented a silenced work in that, no one knew about it (except my friends and family). But, in this fantastic age of information sharing, all I had to do to give Defeating Silence a chance to serve its purpose was to design a website and post my book for the public to read. Because, in reality, that's all Defeating Silence needs-readers. Being the pragmatic person I am, I learned how to design a website and, knowing that not everyone (including myself) enjoys reading extensive amounts of material off of a computer screen, I also learned how to craft a reasonable facsimile of a hardback book to loan out. That's all it took on my part (well, and a bit of getting the word out about the website).

So, I invite you to download the book or borrow the hardback version and read it. If you like the book, tell your friends about it, direct people to this website, feel free to add a link to this page on your website and become an integral part of this project of Defeating Silence.

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Download the full and free PDF of Defeating Silence

Thank you for choosing to download my novel/opera. It is a zip compressed PDF, so it may be read on any computer that has Adobe Acrobat Reader™ and a decompression program. If your computer doesn't have Acrobat Reader™, you may download a free version here: If your computer doesn't have a decompression program, you may download a free version of Aladdin's StuffIt Expander™ here: If you already have these programs, just click the link below and a 1.3MB zip file will download, then automatically decompress and deposit the 1.5MB PDF on your computer (approx. download time: 4 min - 56K modem, <1 min - high-speed connection).

Clicking here will begin download of Defeating Silence

What you CAN do with the book after you've downloaded it:

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How to borrow the nifty, handcrafted, hardback version of the book.

Warning! Not completely free (see below).

I've made 25 books that I'm willing to loan out. To ensure their return and to make them available to others who wish to borrow them, I've devised the following scheme (overview only):

Clicking here will take you to the request form

The total cost to you to borrow the book should be less than $1 (This is including: $0.39 stamp to mail the check and ~$0.40 for other incidentals like the envelope to send in the check, the cost of the check itself, a piece of paper for the signed agreement, and an optional mailing label) (US addresses only).

For non-US residents, the terms differ, but still at a minimal cost to you.

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Links to other great websites

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If you have any problems, comments, or questions about this site, visit the contact info page.

Defeating Silence and website © 2003 Tanya Henderson. Trademarks are property of respective owners. All rights reserved.