World of the Castrati: The History of an Extraordinary Operatic Phenomenon

Out of Stock. Usually despatches within 2 weeks.


Patrick Barbier's entertaining and authoritative book is the first full study of the subject in the context of the baroque period. Covering the lives of more than sixty singers from the end of the sixteenth century to the nineteenth, he blends history and anecdote as he examines their social origins and backgrounds, their training and debuts, their brilliant careers their relationship with society and the Church, and their decline and death. The castrati became a legend that still fascinates us today. Thousands flocked to hear and see these singing hybrids - part man, part woman, part child - who portrayed virile heroes on the operatic stage, their soprano or contralto voices weirdly at variance with their clothes and bearing. The sole surviving scratchy recording tells us little of the extraordinary effect of those voices on their audiences - thrilling, unlike any sound produced by the normal human voice. Illustrated with photographs and engravings, the book ranges from the glories of patronage and adulation to the darker side of a fashion that exploited the sons of poor families, denied them their manhood and left them, when they were old, to decline into poverty and loneliness. It is a story that will intrigue opera-lovers and general readers alike, superbly told by a writer who has researched his subject with the thoroughness of a true enthusiast.

Product Details

Profile Books Ltd
Publish Date
BIC Categories:

Earn By Promoting Books

Earn money by sharing your favourite books through our Affiliate programme.

Become an Affiliate
We use cookies and similar methods to recognize visitors and remember their preferences. We also use them to help detect unauthorized access or activity that violate our terms of service, as well as to analyze site traffic and performance for our own site improvement efforts. To learn more about these methods, including how to disable them view our Cookie Policy.