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About this product
- DescriptionThe Castrato is a nuanced exploration of why innumerable boys were castrated for singing between the mid-sixteenth and late-nineteenth centuries. It shows that the entire foundation of Western classical singing, culminating in bel canto, was birthed from an unlikely and historically unique set of desires, public and private, aesthetic, ecomic, and political. In Italy, castration for singing was understood through the lens of Catholic blood sacrifice as expressed in idioms of offering and renunciation and, paradoxically, in satire, verbal abuse, and even the symbolism of the castrato's comic cousin Pulcinella. Sacrifice in turn was inseparable from the system of patriarchy involving teachers, patrons, colleagues, and relatives whereby castrated males were produced t as nmen, as often thought wadays, but as idealized males. Yet what captivated audiences and composers from Cavalli and Pergolesi to Handel, Mozart, and Rossini were the extraordinary capacities of castrato voices, a phemen ultimately unsettled by Enlightenment morality. Although the castrati failed to survive, their musicality and vocality have persisted long past their literal demise.
- Author BiographyMartha Feldman is Mabel Green Myers Professor of Music, Romance Languages, and Literatures and the Humanities at the University of Chicago. She is the author of City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice and Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy and coeditor of The Courtesan's Arts.
- Author(s)Martha Feldman
- PublisherUniversity of California Press
- Date of Publication24/03/2015
- SubjectMusic & Dance
- Series TitleErnest Bloch Lectures
- Series Part/Volume Number16
- Place of PublicationBerkerley
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of California Press
- Content Note45 musical examples, 75 b/w photos
- Weight508 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine40 mm
- Format DetailsCloth over boards
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