castrato


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castrato

(kăsträ`tō) [Ital.,=castrated], a male singer with an artificially created soprano or alto voice, the result of castration in boyhood. The combination of the larynx of a youth and the chest and lungs of a man produced a powerful voice of great range and unique sound. Castrati were especially popular in churches and opera in Europe during the 17th and 18th cent. The most celebrated castrato was Carlo Broschi FarinelliFarinelli, Carlo Broschi
, 1705–82, Italian male soprano, greatest of the castrati (see castrato), pupil of Niccolò Porpora, in whose operas he sang (1734–37) in London. Farinelli's real name was Carlo Broschi.
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Bibliography

See R. Freitas, Portrait of a Castrato (2010).

castrato

(in 17th- and 18th-century opera) a male singer whose testicles were removed before puberty, allowing the retention of a soprano or alto voice
References in periodicals archive ?
Because Moreschi retired before Hemingway's 1918 arrival on the Italian front, he would not have heard the castrato sing.
It is interesting to note that when Artaxerxes was revived in 1768 at Covent Garden and thereafter the two castrato roles were sung by women (Plate 7).
If particularly talented, a young castrato might hope to
His equally tragic, yet ultimately triumphant son Idamante - a role originally written for a castrato - was perhaps slightly less convincing.
Callaghan argues, for instance, that "the castrato hangs over the English stage as an (in)credible threat" (52).
Voice', Lee's fascinating tale about the ghost of a castrato singer, which would seem to fit her overall thesis better.
20, and Exsultate, Jubilate (November 6), when Mozart's piece of that name - originally written for a castrato but here performed by soprano Elizabeth Watts - will demonstrate his precocity.
With Borosini, soprano Francesca Cuzzoni and the famed castrato Senesino in the premiere, Tamerlano was staged 12 times in the 1724/25 season to great acclaim, with patrons emerging from the King's Theatre weeping.
Handel wrote the role of Theodora's lover the Roman soldier Didymus, a closet Christian convert, for a castrato and brilliantly exploited the voice's ethereal qualities.
Then again, Art and Music in Venice is the only book known to me to show a drawing of the castrato Farinelli who also wowed opera audiences.
Presented as a vehicle for Marilyn Home, the score was cut and rearranged to make her the central figure, and several roles written for castrato or female voices were reassigned to male singers.
It means, however, that the volume loses out on biographies of people such as the castrato Farinelli (whom Handel reportedly tried to meet without success), Joseph Addison (who left a wonderful description of the staging of Rinaldo in London in 1711), or Horace Walpole (from whom we have a description of performances of Rodelinda in 1725).