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Archive through November 14, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum » Arts & Other Philosophical Sundries » Opera Discussion » Archive through November 14, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2002 - 10:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Oxygenee,
My, you are incredible to know this info. Thanks so much. I would love to hear it again. I will email you.
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2002 - 11:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oxy...I read about that as well.

He sang liturgical music only. His speaking voice was that of a high tenor and his range was about: c' - e''' (C4 - E6)

Yes, the CD is available.
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2002 - 1:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The castrato who made records was Alessandro Moreschi - he made 17 records for the Grammophone & Typewriter Company between 1902 and 1904. The originals are all very rare, but they were collected on LP, which was reissued on CD (Pearl Opal 9823). I'm not sure if its still available. The extracts are mainly sacred music, with a few Tosti songs. The most accessible record is the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria, where his voice is the clearest. Moreschi was not a great singer, and the records were made after he had retired, but the sound is an unearthly one, quite different from either a soprano or countertenor timbre. When the practice of castration was outlawed at the beginning of the 19th century, an exception was made for the choir of the Sistine Chapel, the Pope's personal choir. Moreschi was the youngest and last admitted chorister.

If anyone is seriously interested in this, email me and I'll email you the Ave Maria in Windows Media Audio File format - its about 1.5MB.

Interestingly, the first Moreschi records were made by Fred Gaisburg, on the same 1902 Milan trip when he first recorded a promising up and coming young singer called Enrico Caruso.
Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 8:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


SO, how was Rigoletto? Please...I await the review.
I'll actually have to wait until March for that one. This weekend is Salome.
Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 12:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I tried to read Cry to Heaven but just couldnt get through it.

That is an amzing doll artist. I spent an hour at that web site. I think the Faranelli is my favorite

and I agree that my castrati description sounds really really dirty. I am almost embarressed I wrote it....

meanwhile, back in the opera house, I am off to see Rigoletto tonight
Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 9:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


the angelic quality of a young boy combined with the range and control of trained adult male.

That sounds unbelievably dirty out of context.
Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 7:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

As a tie-in to the Anne Rice thread, she wrote a book about castrati called (I think) "Cry to Heaven".
Posted on Monday, November 11, 2002 - 10:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This doll makes me think of LOUIS xiv. I read that Louis XIV was a great dancer and perfomed in court pageants and masques. ALL THAT SPECTACLE must ahve beenn something to see.

I have a wonderful Puss In Boots doll that I bought In Venice. I saw it in the window all week. Finally on my last day I went way over budget and bought it. that and a music box with little baroque style ballerinas that dance to Chopin. cant figure that combo out but it is still divine! Ah Temptation!
Posted on Monday, November 11, 2002 - 9:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My girlfriend also heard the recording in Music History. She confirmed that it was really bad quality. She proceeded to tell me that castration was currently illegal. HA HA...REALLY? We had a good laugh about that one.

All I can say is, with this book, I'm now well versed in the history of the castrata. What a resume to have now...jeez.

Kallisti, I did think that the first picture of Farinelli you posted was human (with a load of makeup). Wow...amazing doll artist, I'd guess.
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 10:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

by an amazing doll artist.

Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 10:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

there is one known recording of an actual castrato. I cannot remember the name of the singer or what he is singing. the quality of the recording is bad because it is soooo old. alos the singer was quite old when the recording was made, but it is our only link to the past of what the castrato sound was. I am sure with a little research you can find the recording. I heard it in opera history class as an undergraduate.

the castrato had the angelic quality of a young boy combined with the range and control of trained adult male. I guess we will never really know exactly how it sounded, unless castration comes back into vogue.

beautiful photo admin! I cant tell if that is a doll or a human.
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 10:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

what a peecock.
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 9:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Finally! A picture of head prosthesis.
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 8:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 8:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tort! Thanks!

Man, I am a bit out of the loop where this is concerned. I have not seen Farinelli, but I did some research on it and it sounds interesting. True story! Very cool.

Also, as far as your book suggestion...good ole mom gave me "The Castrati in Opera" by Angus Heriot.
The last line on the back states: 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 surgeon's knife by the last minute intercession of his mother. ...WOOPS!

Ha Ha...I'm with you. There are many things I would like to go back to school for. My major studies included traditional art, multimedia, business admin. and communications. Theater, Dance, and Music were all by default...thanks to my diverse (sometimes bizzare) family.
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 5:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

who needs a mic, were talking opera here.
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 5:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The Queen Dido's lament is so beautiful, no? I am not crazy about the recording I have. must find another. suggestions?

Nola-congrats to your mom and her students!

If you want more info on the castrati, I recommend a book called The World of the Castrati: the history of an extroadinary operatic phenomenon. It gives detailed accounts of their very difficult life in the conservatories, insight into baroque theatre and the poor boys who never developed great singing voices! castrated for nothing.

Did you see that film a few years ago called "Farinelli"?

I would love to go back to school and just study baroque theatre, opera and dance. that would be so cool and make me even less employable and poorer than I currently am. well, one can dream...
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 5:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


tap tap is this mic on?

Smart ass
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 5:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Handel's Julius Caesar was originally cast for a counter-tenor roll. I didn't know that.

tap tap is this mic on?
Posted on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 1:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm not well versed in Dido and Aeneas, but I did do some reading on it:
I must check it out!

By the way, Mom just got back from NATS and all of her students made it to the Semi-Finals...she said there was some real tough competition there this year.
Also, I asked her about the counter-tenors roll and she confirmed David Daniels was great.

Additionally, she told me some history. Handel's Julius Caesar was originally cast for a counter-tenor roll. I didn't know that.
The Castrati were the first counter-tenors (as aspoon stated) and they would keep the voice into adulthood. Their bodies would form very wide top torsos due to strenuous voice exercises and they grew taller than non-castrati. They were easily recognizable from the other singers…quite interesting.

I don't know how King Diamond keeps up that voice...he smokes Dutch cigarettes like they are going out of style. I met him in a cigar store in Dallas a couple of years ago and the owner said he imports cartons of cigs for him each month.
Posted on Saturday, November 9, 2002 - 1:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

What if King D did a version of "Faust"!! I think it would revive his cereer and it would be right up his ally. And turn on a bunch of metalheads on to opera. That wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Posted on Saturday, November 9, 2002 - 1:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My Uncle is a Medieval and Baroque musician and educator. That is the stuff I grew up listening to. It is exquisite.

Dido's Lament brings me to tears no matter what version it is.
Posted on Saturday, November 9, 2002 - 11:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I dont know a lot of the baroque rep because I didnt grow up hearing it. The stuff just wasnt done. So it is big area I am endeavoring to get knowledge of. Do you know Purcell's Dido and Aeneas? Maybe you at least know the aria "when I am laid in earth". I have a mezzo friend who sings a jazz version of it, which is so incredibly cool.
as for the messiah, it still gives me goosebumps. How lovely to hear your mom sing it.

you should come to NYC. we would have fun together. you can get a decent seat at the Met for $90. same price as broadway show.
Posted on Saturday, November 9, 2002 - 1:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wow...this is great! I look forward to hearing more of this. Maybe I know more than I think as I've heard some of what you are talking about.
Thanks Tortie!

Well, if you're ignorant and arrogent, I guess I am too. It sure has made for an interesting thread (currently 101 posts) It's better to learn something new every day rather than shut out new ideas.
Posted on Friday, November 8, 2002 - 11:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nola my friend: David Daniels, the singer absinthspoon writes of, is a very well known counter tenor.It should be easy to find recordings of his. I have Vivaldi's Stabat Mater/ Nisi dominus with Daniels, which I like. Bejun Mehta will be singing Flavio by Handel @ NYC opera this season. There is one recording of Flavio with 2 counter tenors on Harmonia Mundi conducted by Rene Jacobs.> If you like baroque opera and the counter tenor sound or just curious, check it out. But then again I am just ignorant and arrogent so why listen to me.

I love all things baroque and I am excited to see these operas, such a sFlavio, that I havent seen before. Last year in NYC there was a whole bunch of Monteverdi, everyone seemed to be doing it. a big baroque revival going on.lots of work for countertenors these days.

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