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the castrati, those angels denatured ... The Satyr DEAF

Its origin is around 1550, are preserved the earliest documents relating to children singers neutered in Rome and Ferrara. In fact, castration was practiced musical purposes exclusively in Italy, but may have originated in Spain and was used rarely in the southern states of Germany. Many poor families offered their children to castration to preserve their voices and thus guaranteed income needed for survival. Castration was testicular tissue destruction without that usually get a cut penis. Through this intervention traumatic, it was possible that children who had shown special talent for singing, keep an adult acute tessitura voices to interpret characteristics of female roles. Their voices, developed in adulthood in a unique way to grow the body (especially lung capacity and muscular strength), the vocal range, power and flexibility, was quite different from the singing voice of an adult woman, but also markedly different from the higher vocal range of an adult male not castrated. The castrations are effected in age from 7 to 12 years, ie before the "move" or change of voice. Not all children were able to keep that voice after castration, there were few who are developed as Castrato. Most end up in poverty and maimed for life, which led them to pose as "plague" during his life and beyond, as not being "complete" the Church rejected them being buried in sacred ground.
A poet stated: "foolish Church geldings who accuse without reason, without knowing that you are the occasion the same thing that you blame " .
was actually from the Pope Paul IV prohibited women from singing in the Basilica of San Pedro, they started the Castrati to make his first appearances in churches. Castrati could afford many privileges, they came to collect huge amounts of money for their performances. Each one of them was appreciated, the difficulty of getting one and the need for elaborate vocal ornamentation, the was important.

The charm of this type voice, which dominated Italian opera seria between 1650 and 1750, was in its great size and agility: it combined the sweetness of child's voice with the strength of the adult, had an extraordinary control of respiration by the small size of the larynx and the disproportionately large lung capacity. Voice with the tenderness of a child and the power and strength of an adult, were highly coveted and applauded. All these singer s, adopted a pseudonym Art, given by his admirers or chosen by the performer himself . castration was a practice that rarely yielded successful results: many of the children died, or was a high percentage useless for the song by having a voice at all pleasant to the ear . The castrato voices end up being the object of veneration by the unnatural combination of pitch and power to issue the high notes from a pre-pubescent boy from the lungs of an adult, the result, that of his contemporaries, was magical, ethereal and strangely disembodied. Italian The child was born with a voice promising local lead him to a barber-surgeon in the slums, the drugged with opium and put it in a hot bath. The expert cut the ducts in the testes, which atrophied over time ... is estimated that in the early eighteenth century, underwent the operation some four thousand children per year; in Santa Maria Nuova Hospital of Florence, example, had a production line, under the command of one Antonio Santarelli, who castrated eight children at a time.


The most famous Castrati, Carlo Broschi, chose the pseudonym of "Farinelli", as a token of appreciation to the brothers Farina, patrons who pay for her education and maintenance. They have been very clear the reasons for castration, because it belonged to a family of minor nobility, though, it is assumed, with some financial difficulties.
In 1994, he made a film that tells the story of this singer, is entitled "Farinelli, Il Castrato" , where the boy's name attached to the decision of his brother Riccardo. Farinelli achieved extraordinary fame for his amazing talent, which was literally idolized by those who heard him. He was nice and distinguished, was friendship and protection of kings, emperors and even the Pope. Summoned to the court of Philip V of Spain, remained in her for over twenty years as staff singer monarch, making such a friendship and influence on it, which, by all accounts, contributed several times to decide matters of state. Much of the sonatas that Domenico Scarlatti created for the English court were rescued by Farinelli.

SUCCESS castrati
The rise of castrati coincided with the heyday of opera seria, unreal when the voice of the castrati characters fit into the mythological heroes gods and legendary figures. The public preferred them above all other voices . and its peak was in the middle of the eighteenth century, when 70% of opera singers were castrati . Basically, the only thing that has reached us of the great castrati was the music that was written for them and the descriptions made their big castrati actuaciones.Los significant amounts and were charged beings, mostly eccentric capricious outbursts were allowed to make a king. The most famous specialized in singing arias that were written to exploit their particular talents. The arias called portmanteau (arias case) because the carry anywhere and were inserted into the opera, whether fit or not, to bring the delight of his audience.


"Viva the knife, the blessed knife "screamed ecstatic female fans at opera houses as the craze for Italian castrati reached its apogee in the eighteenth century, a cry also allegedly heard in the bedrooms of Europe's most modern women.
For women of European high society, the obvious benefit of contraception became incorporated in the castrati ideal targets for discreet adventures. Popular songs and pamphlets were quick to suggest that castration actually increased sexual performance of man, since the lack of sensation guaranteed additional strength, is reported stories that spoke of the castrati and caring lovers, whose attention was focused entirely on women. Marriage with castrati was officially banned by the Church But in Germany, two singers achieved a special legal dispensation to remain married. Males opera fans, meanwhile, sought to castrati for their androgynous qualities. Travel accounts tell that coquettish young castrati in Rome and tied their seductive breasts in bras chubby and offered to "serve [...] alike as a woman or man."

the late eighteenth century were numerous intellectuals, writers and thinkers diverse raised their angry voices against the practice of castration, which they considered aberrant, and particularly in France, where it had never been well regarded. and Voltaire and Rousseau calling the latter condemned "Barbarians parents" to parents that consenting to their children and " real monsters" who had suffered. But most certainly the libertarian ideas of the French Revolution and later Napoleon himself , which began the inevitable end of the practice. Indeed, although the emperor admired and protected the castrato Crescentini , the only, it is said, that did tear tears of emotion, his opinion was clear once conquered Rome, establishing in this city for whom capital punishment practiced and instructed his brother Joseph , King of Naples to any school or conservatory in Naples was admitted the entry of children mutilated. The Church changed its attitude from 1798 allowing women to serve on the theater stages and declaring Pope Benedict XIV it was never legal in the amputation of any body part except when absolutely medically necessary. On the other hand the famous conservatories of Naples had been the main hotbed of castrati ; began to disappear because of mismanagement and with them the possibilities to train new artists of this nature. However, castration is continued practicing for a while even though in much smaller numbers of cases and already in 1830, the farewell of Gianbattista Velluti lyrical scenarios, meant the disappearance of castrated opera. The Castrati continued singing in the Vatican and other churches, until a decree of Pope Leo XIII in 1902, permanently prohibiting presentation at church ceremonies. However, there were some exceptions, as in the case of Alessandro Moreschi, the ultimate Castrato, who retired in 1913 and was the only one who could give testimony of his voice for posterity in recordings made in 1902 and 1904.

THE LAST castrati
Montecompatri Moreschi was born in Rome, in 1858 and is considered the last castrato singer that on record. In 1883, twenty-five years of age entered the Sistine Chapel Choir and but most of all vocal activity was conducted in the Vatican site, the " angelo di Roma "He also sang in universities, classrooms and even in the Pantheon in Rome for the funeral of the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II in 1878 and his son Umberto I in 1900. After the prohibition of admitting castrated in the papal choir, Moreschi could nevertheless continue in it as its director and, at times, even as a soloist.

In 1922, sixty-four years old and having sung "with a tear each note "Margaret's aria from" Faust "by Gounod in the elegant surrounds Roman die forgotten by all, even by those who once would have shouted excited" Evviva il coltello! "(Long live the knife!) As they had done other in times of vocal splendor of these rarities.


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