A Beautiful Lie: For the Screen

by Paul Young

 

On a July morning a young woman placed a basket on the stone steps of an orphanage run by the nuns of San Martino Convent and rang the bell and quickly left.

The door was opened by one of the nuns who looked down and saw the basket that held a baby wrapped in a blanket.  Attached to the blanket was note that read “Please Love my child”.

The nuns would give the baby the name Summer.  Summer would be the child’s first and last name.  Summer would be loved and educated there until around the age of sixteen.

One of the things Summer liked to do was to walk through the church cemetery, and read the names on the grave stones.  The stone she liked the best was a small stone of a little boy who had died at the age of four years and six months, and whose name was Giacomo Puccini.

Summer would keep this name in her memory.  Summer took some flowers that she had picked, and put them on little Puccini’s grave.  Then she talked to him about the orphanage, the nuns, and things she liked.  Nearby was a little girl hiding behind a tree.  She was about the same age as Summer.

That evening at dinner the little girl saw Summer and when dinner was over she went to speak to Summer.

“I saw you at the cemetery today, do you go there a lot ask the little girl?”

“I go there to visit my little friend, and why do you go there?”,  asked Summer.

The little girl said she goes to the cemetery to play and pretend.  “I pretend to be a great actress, and I pretend I have a lot of nice things.”

“What is your name?”,  inquired Summer.

“My name is Violet but the nuns call me Moonett because I look at the moon a lot.  I like the name Moonett better than Violet.”

One day a Mr. and Mrs. Storchio came to the orphanage hoping to find a companion for their daughter Rosina.  The nuns immediately thought of Summer.  Rosina and Summer became very close friends.  Rosina was given music lessons by the music teacher Antonia Barezzi.  Summer would sit in the music room while Rosina took her lessons.

One warm day Antonia opened a window to let in some air.  There in the garden was Summer cutting flowers and singing to herself. Antonia was very surprised by the tone and beauty of Summer’s voice.

Summer came in to the music room to listen to Rosina’s music lesson.  When the lesson was over, and Antonio had a chance to do so, he said to Summer that she had a beautiful voice.

Antonio then offered Summer voice and music lessons on his own time for free.  These lessons would go on for a few years.

Summer told Rosina about the music lessons, and Rosina said she was very happy for Summer.

One day, Rosina and Summer were out walking when a horseman came riding up.  He introduced himself as their neighbor, his name was Carlo Angeloni.  Rosina had seen Carlo at church but had never met him.  The three had a pleasant conversation, and Carlo asked Rosina if he could come for tea someday.

Sometime later Rosina came running in all excited and told Summer that Carlo had proposed.

Summer said she was very happy for her.

The night before the wedding Rosina came to Summer’s room with a little box that had money and a necklace in it that Summer liked.  As Rosina put the necklace around Summer’s neck, Rosina said that Summer would always be her best friend.  With tears running down her cheek, Rosina left Summer’s room.

The wedding for Carlo and Rosina was beautiful.  After Carlo and Rosina gave their good byes to Summer and left for their honeymoon, Summer went back to her room for the last time to pack a suit case to go to the city of Milan the next day.

In Milan, Summer would audition for her first opera.  The opera did well and Summer received good reviews. This would open the stage door for many more operas.  Summer would go on to be one of Europe’s great voices.

 

 

Giuseppe Verdi and his mistress Giuseppina Strepponi attended an opera by Richard Wagner.

After the opera, Giuseppe and Giuseppina went back stage to meet the singers.   When Giuseppe was introduced to Summer he became very infatuated with Summer, so much so that he came back the next day to the opera house stage door to wait for Summer after the afternoon performance.  Giuseppe had rented a carriage and brought a picnic basket for a picnic in the country.  When Summer came out, Giuseppe reintroduced himself and offered her the invitation for the picnic.

Summer was very aware of whom Verdi was and his fame, and accepted his invitation.  They would have a lovely picnic under a beautiful tree in the country.  These picnics would continue for about two weeks, but Summer and Verdi knew they both had separate lives to live.

So it was on their last picnic that they said their good byes.  Verdi would marry his mistress and go on with his life, and Summer would go on with her life and career by herself.

Summer remembered the small gravestone of the little boy with the name Giacomo Puccini and gave her baby the little boy’s name.   Summer would only tell the young boy that his father died at sea.  When Puccini became old enough to understand he was told of the real circumstances about his father and Summer would take him to the tree where she and his father had their picnics.

Summer would ask him not to find his father, but there would come a day when he would meet his father.  Time would pass and Puccini would go on to be a famous composer.  Summer would read one day of Verdi’s wife passing and go to him in Milan.  Verdi would tell Summer that he loved his wife, but her world had been society and his world was music.  Verdi suggested that he and Summer go to a new opera by a young composer named Giacomo Puccini.

After the opera was over Verdi and Summer went back stage to meet with Puccini, and give him praise on his work.  In a small room Verdi and Summer met Puccini and gave him great praise.

It was then that Summer spoke up and said Giuseppe Puccini is your son.

The next night Summer, Verdi and Puccini attended a play.   On the program the female lead’s name was Moonett.  Could this have been the little girl Summer knew at the orphanage many years ago?

After the play was over, the three of them went back stage to meet the cast.

When Summer met Moonett, Summer said she had a little friend many years ago who was at the same orphanage she was in, named Moonett.  As Moonett gave Summer a big hug, she said that was her. After they had met the cast of the play, Moonett introduced a very pretty lady to them. This is my daughter Victoria. Puccini’s eyes betrayed him as he gazed on Victoria’s beauty.  The Five of them left the theater together.

 

The End of the Study for Screen

 

 

 

Paul Young, 64, has interests in photography, music and art.  This is Paul’s first work for the screen and is an outline for a larger treatment.  The author can be reached at: twobsmart@hotmail.com

 

 

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