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The role of Castrati in Baroque opera

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Julie Sessions

on 21 November 2012

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Transcript of The role of Castrati in Baroque opera

The role of Castrati in Baroque Opera
by Julie Sessions *Three reasons for castration:
1) Composers sought command of music
2) Life was short and harsh
3) Prohibition of women singers
1) Procedure
2) Affect
*Lives of Castrati
*Castrati in Opera

Castrati came with a large price, lasted for several hundred years, and vanished along with castrati music. Orpheus and Euridice Orpheus charmed Cerberus - the three headed dog who guarded the entrance of the Underworld - with his music. Cerberus stood motionless and the spirits and monsters stepped aside. He delighted Hades and Persephone also. FLORENTINE CAMERATA Members of the FLORENTINE CAMERATA were largely concerned with a single voice predominating a piece of music. The continual discussions included a revival of Greek music. From this came a movement by Peri and others toward a homophonic texture with principal melody lines providing more freedom. Eventually, BASSO CONTINUO was developed, which was the foundation for a subordinate accompaniment to a vocal line known as MONODY. The Greeks also used a style between speech and song, and from this concept, members of the Camerata invented the RECITATIVE. This style was used in several monodies and intermedi of the day, but became primarily linked with the development of OPERA. Orazio Vecchi's L'Amfiparnaso "Ombra mai fu" from Xerxes A peasant tilled landlord's soil his lifetime as would his children - life expectancy 25 years. Alan Greenspan Women silenced in Church The Castration Castrato Vocal Mechanism In 1795, Wilhelm Heinse stated,
“Nothing in the whole of music is
as fine as the fresh young voice
of a castrato. No woman’s voice
has the same firmness, the same
strength, and the same smoothness.” Costume worn in private court performances, mid 18th century. Farinelli – Sang a phrase that lasted just under a minute. Notes going by at 1000 per minute, with one breath. Almost Castrato Alessandro Moreschi Understanding Farinelli's Vocal Speed Composer's Sought Mystical Command of Music Life was short and harsh! Prohibition of women singers The length of the vocal folds: Child = 5mm, Woman = 8 mm, Man = 1.4 cm Child Man Baroque Stage Moreschi Farinelli – Sang a phrase that lasted just under a minute. Notes going by at 1000 per minute, with one breath.
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