Son qual nave ch'agitata - Artaserse de Riccardo Bros from the Film Farinelli
Son qual nave ch’agitata – Artaserse (1734) de Riccardo Broschi from the Film “Farinelli”

Castrato, also called Evirato, male soprano or contralto voice of great range, flexibility, and power, produced as a result of castration before puberty. The castrato voice was introduced in the 16th century, when women were banned from church choirs and the stage. It reached its greatest prominence in 17th- and 18th-century opera. The unique tone quality of the voice, paired with the ability of the masterfully trained singers to execute practically impossible florid vocal passages, made the castrati the rage of opera audiences and contributed to the spread of Italian opera. In 18th-century opera the overwhelming majority of male singers were castrati. The most famous of the Italian castrati was Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli.

Ombra fedele anch'io - Idaspe 1730 de Riccardo Broschi from the Film Farinelli
Ombra fedele anch’io – Idaspe (1730) de Riccardo Broschi from the Film “Farinelli”

Farinelli contra une trompette - from the Film Farinelli
Farinelli contra une trompette – from the Film “Farinelli”

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Farinelli Carlos Broschi

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Farinelli Carlos Broschi engraving

Castrato and castrati singers

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Delphine Zentout Farinelli

Farinelli Countertenor opera singers

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Farinelli contre trompette

Carlos and Riccardo Broschi Farinelli

Stefano Dionisi Farinelli

Daniel Shams’ Heliotricity Reviews