243 pp. " "Castration of young boys in order to preserve their alto and soprano voices was one of the more curious aberrations of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Italian surgeons risked the penalty of death for performing the operation and the subjects themselves, excommunication from the Catholic Church (ironically, they were in constant demand to fill Roman church choirs). Nevertheless, the practice continued and scores of these inging eunuchs achieved extraordinary fame and popularity as Italian opera spread over Europe. Although criticized for their vanity and arrogance, the castrati were eagerly courted by European nobility because their bravura technique and amazing lung power ensured the success of operas by, among others, Gluck, Handel, Mozart, and Rossini - the latter himself was saved from the sugeon's knife by the last-minute intercession of his mother. Angus Heriot has written the only study in English on this bizarre period in the history of opera. He traces the rise and fall of these incredible performers from St. Paul's edict forbidding women to sing in church, to the confused political climate of the early 19th century which brought about their downfall. Especially interesting are the lives of the renowned Senesino, Favinetti, and Pacchierotti, and Mr. Heriot has spiced his account with humorous anecdotes of patrons, performers, teachers, and opera-goers."Keywords: MUSIC OPERA ENTERTAINMENT CASTRATION Price sticker on top right corner of front cover, pages lightly toned. New York: Da Capo Paperback, 1975. Very Good/Not Applicable. (Inventory #: 2195801)
Literature, American & Military History, General Antiquarian
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