falsettists Archive

  • At their height in the late 1700s, castrati were popular all over Europe in opera seria, as well as as composers, dramatists, court performers, and teachers. By then, however, they had already begun to be scarce.

    The Castrati (Part 5): Decline of the Castrati

    At their height in the late 1700s, castrati were popular all over Europe in opera seria, as well as as composers, dramatists, court performers, and teachers. By then, however, they had already begun to be scarce.

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  • The instrument created through this partnership of altered nature and arduous nurture had a profound effect on voice training as well as a musical movement already craving for the spectacular. The unprecedented skill of the castrati demanded improvements in singing technique for all voice types. With the acceptance of the castrato voice, preferences of timbre also began to change so clear and strong voices were favored over soft and airy.

    The Castrati (Part 4): The Castrati Effect

    The instrument created through this partnership of altered nature and arduous nurture had a profound effect on voice training as well as a musical movement already craving for the spectacular. The unprecedented skill of the castrati demanded improvements in singing technique for all voice types. With the acceptance of the castrato voice, preferences of timbre also began to change so clear and strong voices were favored over soft and airy.

    Continue Reading...

  • Though many eventually traveled and lived all over Europe, the castrati were almost exclusively Italian with the large majority originating from the Papal States, Naples, Sicily, Tuscany, and Lombardy. It is estimated that during the 18th century as many as 4000 boys were castrated a year.  Even into the rise of bel canto opera castrati were trained primarily for careers as church singers and very few ever strayed far from that profession.

    The Castrati (Part 1): Origin of the Castrati

    Though many eventually traveled and lived all over Europe, the castrati were almost exclusively Italian with the large majority originating from the Papal States, Naples, Sicily, Tuscany, and Lombardy. It is estimated that during the 18th century as many as 4000 boys were castrated a year. Even into the rise of bel canto opera castrati were trained primarily for careers as church singers and very few ever strayed far from that profession.

    Continue Reading...