Are there any recordings of the Castrati?

Just listening to the Vienna Boy’s Choir and wondering if there’s any actual recordings of one of the castrati available. I don’t know enough of the period or the technology at the time to know if this is possible, but I would love to hear it.

There were recordings, but they’re all cut short.

(I tried to phone Lorrena Bobbit and she cut me off!)

IIRC, they stopped doing that long before anyone had recording technology.

So I guess you’ll just have to find a little boy and chop his dong off and teach him how to sing.


If you want to know more about the disc called Last Castrato, the track listing can be found here and there are several places online you can purchase it including CD Now.

For those with Real Audio, you can check out audio excerpts courtesy of CD World of the following tracks:
[ul][li]Domine Salvum Fac Pontificem Nostrum Leonem[/li][li]Et Incarnatus Est/Crucifixus[/li][li]Ideale[/li][li]Ave Verum[/li][li]Tui Sunt Coeli[/ul][/li]I will agree with the reviews I saw on the net: Haunting, eerie and mildly disturbing even with the poor recording quality indicative of the vintage.

Yer pal,

Six months, six days, 3 hours, 46 minutes and 57 seconds.
7566 cigarettes not smoked, saving $945.78.
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I slept with a moderator!*

And I must add probably the funniest comments about this artist come from J.G.W. RUSSELL who comments:

Yer pal,

Six months, six days, 3 hours, 56 minutes and 11 seconds.
7566 cigarettes not smoked, saving $945.82.
Extra time with Drain Bead: 3 weeks, 5 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes.

I slept with a moderator!*

There is a movie titled Farinelli: il castrato that is biographical of one of the last great castrati. For the vocals, two voices were electronically treated and merged to simulate the castrati voice.

If you have sound, the trailer has a little bit of singing.

The movie is pretty good. I’ve considered purchasing it.

Sorry about that trailer link. You can follow the path from the imdb movie link to see the trailer.

This is weird! I never could have imagined this existed.

Do Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons count?

It came out in the 80’s.
Thriller I believe. :smiley:

There are a few modern “endocrinological castrati”—otherwise biologically normal males who had Kallmann’s syndrome, which prevented their voices from breaking. Their timbre is (guessed to be) similar to that of the surgical castrati. (Btw, there are apparently also a few “pseudo-surgical” castrati around—men who had accidents to their testes before puberty and who therefore retained their high singing range—but none that I know of who are sufficiently well-known to make recordings; I’ve heard comments on the subject from people who claim to know someone in that category but never met or heard one myself.)

“Endocrinological castrati” of this century who’ve made recordings include Jimmy Scott and Paulo Abel do Nascimento.

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket!

I research the answer, and even supply sound files which allow readers to listen to the answer.

And does anyone come in and say, “Nice job, Satan!” Or even a simple, “I followed those links that Satan thoughtfully provided, and this is what I have to say about them…”?!?


Fine. See if I ever answer a General Question again…

:: Walks off in a huff ::

Yer pal,

Six months, six days, 23 hours, 6 minutes and 7 seconds.
7598 cigarettes not smoked, saving $949.81.
Extra time with Drain Bead: 3 weeks, 5 days, 9 hours, 10 minutes.

I slept with a moderator!*

Wait, Satan, come back!

Having just listened to the clip of Et Incarnatus Est/Crucifixus, all I have to say is…


C’mon, Satan, I just now found the thread. I, too, found the recordings somewhat disturbing.

Nice job, Prince of Darkness.

Thanks, Satan.
Even if I did not know that was being performed by a man whose testicles had been removed, it would still be really really creepy. I can’t pinpoint exactly why the music sounds so disturbing.
I wonder if it would sound so odd if it were sung in English?
Or perhaps an ABBA cover?

Sorry, wierd weekend. Anyway, thanks all who answered. I did listen to those links. It’s a shame nothing more substantial was recorded. Truthfully, he sounds kind of washed up. I wish we could have got a sample from when he was younger.

On a documentory about classic commercials, they interviewed the guy who did the voice of “Speedy” in those old Alka-Seltzer(?) commercials. He makes the lead singer for Rush sound like a baritone.

How many of y’all have listened to recordings made by non-castrated countertenors, btw? Many people have commented on the “eerie”/“spooky”/“epicene”/“angelic”/“ball-less” sound of male altos or sopranos who had all their reproductive systems intact. So it might not be the actual physiological abnormality of Moreschi that’s responsible for the sound that’s weirding you out here, but just an artistic effect that’s common in the countertenor voice.

[And Satan, quitcher bitchin—I went and found those links about endocrinological castrati so people can experience the same effect in more technically advanced modern recordings, and even went and looked up Kallmann’s syndrome, and did anybody thank me either? If you can’t serve the cause of knowledge without getting head-pats for it, ya don’t belong in GQ.]


Good Job Satan. :slight_smile: I heard those when I was still in school. It was also well received that the Castrato that sung those pieces was past his prime as a singer and being among the last of a dead breed of singers. I believe that the earlier Castrati such as Farinelli (who is regarded as the best singer of all time) actually had wonderful voices.