Friday, June 29, 2012


Well this is my first blog post so I think I best start by saying why I am doing this. I have been studying for my Masters in Historically Informed Performance Practice and I have found out so many interesting things. This year has been really interesting, historically, musically but what has been most interesting is 1. being the only student on this course and 2. operating out of both the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow University! Over the next few days I hope to post more on what I have experienced this year!

Th next reason for this blog is that I have been accepted to study for my PhD this coming October! And what I am going to be studying is very interesting! What? I hear you ask. Well I am going to be studying castrati. What is that? I hear you ask again, Well, castrati were men; who, as boys, underwent an operation to remove their testicles so that they maintained a high (boy-like) singing voice! Here is a link to the only recorded castrato singer, Alessandro Moreschi

The eighteenth century saw the rise and fall of castrati on the operatic stage. I wish to examine this hundred year period and make a study of the social effect this phenomenon had on the development of the female opera performer, an area which is currently unexplored by researchers. Many castrati became influential pedagogues, publishing singing treatises, and many were highly regarded singing teachers who taught female opera singers. Therefore, the female voice absorbed many aspects of the castrato’s training.

This area of research is very important for understanding the associate "sound of opera singer". What I suspect is that this "sound" was born out of the castrato vocal technique. There is much confusion at the moment with regards to singing early music but this research will help us understand how opera singers may have sounded in the 17th / 18th century, when the castrati were at their most popular.

However, to do this research I need funding. I have spent the last few months searching and filling out applications but funding is very, very competitive! Over the next few weeks I will be updating this blog on my funding search and my attempts to raise the funds to carry out this research! I hope you have found my first post interesting and I am always appreciative of feedback and thoughts. 

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