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Moreschi: And the Voice of the Castrato: The Angel of Rome Hardcover – 31 Oct 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing; Har/Com edition (31 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905791429
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905791422
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,552,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


‘. . . In an immaculately produced and beautifully illustrated short volume, Clapton sets the castrato in a historical context . . . Clapton is excellent on the physical and psychological effects of castration as experienced by Moreschi . . . a valuable historical record of a nearly forgotten art.’ (Andrew Green Classical Music)

'Invaluable ... a fascinating account of the relations between the Vatican and Italy during the last half of the 19th century ... Clapton’s story is told with wit, compassion and elegance.’ (Michael Tanner BBC Music Magazine)


In his own lifetime Alessandro Moreschi (1858-1922) came to be known as the 'Angel of Rome,' he was one of the last surviving castrato singers of the Vatican choir, and the only one of the castrati whose voice survives in any recording. The ethereal, haunting quality of his voice hints at why this extraordinary sound was so highly prized for centuries in the papal basilicas and opera houses of Europe.The tradition became established in Italy in the 16th century when Pope Clement VIII gave it his sanction. By the 17th century the castrati had moved onto the secular operatic stage, where they were feted as the 'pop stars' of their day. Few 'normal' singers male or female, came close to matching their fame and success. But, by the 19th century their continued existence had become an embarrassment, and when Moreschi joined the Sistine Chapel in 1883, there were only six castrati left in the choir, and by 1903 they were officially no more.The strange and lonely life of Alessandro Moreschi was lived in the shadows of great events and great institutions, his personality glimpsed only by inference and illusion.

Written by an acclaimed musicologist, who as a counter-tenor has performed much of the repertoire written for castrati, this is a perceptive and informed study of the last survivor of a perennially intriguing part of western cultural history.This is a unique biography about a subject which continues to fascinate both amateur music lovers and expert musicologists alike. It provides widespread broadsheet review coverage. Nicholas Clapton made an acclaimed documentary for BBC4 on the castrati voice in 2006.

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2 customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

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5 January 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
27 February 2010
Format: Hardcover
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
jose c. barja
5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
22 August 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
carolyn beanblossom
2.0 out of 5 starsso the author reconstructed his life from what the times were like in that era
21 January 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
3.0 out of 5 starsa rather disappointing look at a very special singer
3 August 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
3 people found this helpful.
Brian Morgan
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Angel of Rome
30 May 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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Edward Z. Norton
5.0 out of 5 starsMoreschi: The Last Castrato
31 August 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
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