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Long live the knife!

Could you ever imagine having your child castrated for the sake of his future prospects of pursuing a singing career in the theatrical world? For three and a half centuries thousands of parents decided to do so. The opera audiences of the early 1700s were fascinated by the ethereal voice of the castrati. However, only a small percentage of the boys who were castrated to preserve their “angelic voices” actually succeeded. Achieving such spectacular success as did Carlo Broschi (better known by his stage name Farinelli), the celebrated opera singer of the 18th century, was rare. A life full of struggles lay ahead of the majority of the castrati.

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