Farinelli

17 07 2009

Okay, this was a terrible film, but the music was really good. If you like Baroque music, I would watch it.

Those interested in this rather unpleasant subject should know that the last castrato was born in 1858, and lived long enough to make a modern recording:

(Yes, that is a man.)

One of the many dirty secrets of Catholic society: if we want you to keep singing like an angel, we will, even if it means we have to maim and deform you. Who do you think hit those high notes in the Papal choir? Women?


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13 responses

21 07 2009
dcs

A question seems to have been missed here, viz., if the castration is not performed with a contraceptive intent, would it be immoral?

Yes, because it is not permitted to remove a part of one’s body except for therapeutic reasons (removing an organ because of a cancerous tumor, amputating a limb because of gangrene, etc.).

21 07 2009
Mark

“I’m going to play the Devil’s Advocate for a minute and say that if Italy’s Catholic culture was accepting of castrati (and apparently had a papal stamp of approval to boot), then on what basis can we object to sex change operations and the like? ”

A culture may be accepting of something which is immoral; using this as the basis for approving another evil is absurd. Consider that Italian ‘Catholic’ culture today is accepting of many perversions, but this hardly seems a persuasive argument for instituting forced euthanasia, e.g.

A question seems to have been missed here, viz., if the castration is not performed with a contraceptive intent, would it be immoral?

19 07 2009
Rob

-The point that I was trying to make was that by using the castrato in her choirs, the Church was creating a demand for them, which isn’t consistent with trying to stamp out the practice.-

Very good point. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

18 07 2009
Leah

Rob:

I didn’t mean any offense by my previous comment. It was a lame attempt at sarcasm that seems to have missed its mark. I’m sorry. The point that I was trying to make was that by using the castrato in her choirs, the Church was creating a demand for them, which isn’t consistent with trying to stamp out the practice.

18 07 2009
Robert Thomas Llizo

BTW, the man swooning in the balcony at the end is none other than Georg Freidrich Handel.

18 07 2009
Rob

-By this logic, the Vatican should invite the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir to do a joint concert with the Papal choir.-

I wasn’t recommending it or approving it. I just noted that awful societal practices continued (and continue) alongside the existence of the Catholic Church. I think your remark was rude.

17 07 2009
Arturo Vasquez

Chanticleer has some good CD’s of sacred music.

Context can pretty much fix anything. The problem is, it can end up fixing everything.

17 07 2009
Leah

“Just as with prostitution and other negative aspects of human society, the Church existed side by side with this practice until the practice was finally curtailed.”

By this logic, the Vatican should invite the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir to do a joint concert with the Papal choir.

17 07 2009
Rob

People should remember that the Church did not invent the castrati. The creation, existence and maintenance of a “eunuch class” goes back to prehistoric times in many societies. Personally, I am glad it is gone, but it was a standard part of society going back to ancient times. The Chinese were still creating eunuchs at the beginning of the 20th century.

Just as with prostitution and other negative aspects of human society, the Church existed side by side with this practice until the practice was finally curtailed.

17 07 2009
dcs

I am fairly certain that any Pope who actually wrote about the topic of the castrati did not approve of the practice of castration in order to make them. (And if he did, he was wrong.) The reasons why one would be castrated were probably more numerous one or more centuries ago. That said, the existence of the castrati certainly did give incentive to people to castrate who otherwise would not have.

17 07 2009
Leah

I’m going to play the Devil’s Advocate for a minute and say that if Italy’s Catholic culture was accepting of castrati (and apparently had a papal stamp of approval to boot), then on what basis can we object to sex change operations and the like? Not that I’m encouraging anyone to go out and get something like that done, but to have encouraged castrati for so long while condemning a similar form of self-mutilation seems to be pretty contradictory. And that second video is awesome in a sick kind of way. Three cheers for mass communications!

17 07 2009
Robert Thomas Llizo

As a staunch traditionalist, I must also say that some things from the past should stay there, and this is one of them. I don’t think anyone is looking to reinstate the practice of castrati in any kind of traditional Catholic revival. At least I hope not! Ouch!

17 07 2009
Robert Thomas Llizo

The music in Farinelli was truly remarkable. The film…you are so right. Very unpleasant. The castration scene juxtaposed with this incredible performance left me in two states-goosebumps for the masterful execution of Lascia chio pianga, and PAIN.

Pleasure and pain, I suppose 😉

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