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Lyashenko Yu., Rudaya A.

Castrato – vocal phenomenon in the light of modern research

This article is devoted to the great sopranists of the Baroque era – castrati, in the context of examining the influence of castration on the performer’s body. Based on the results of research conducted by specialists in various professional fields (medicine, archeology, history), a general picture of pathologies resulting from emasculation is presented. Based on the achievements of modern scientific technologies fixed in publications of recent years, information on the vocal phenomenon of the Baroque century is given.

Historical, systemic, analytical, interpretational and functional methods served as the methodological basis of the article, which allowed to trace not only the historical phenomenon of castration in different functional applications and its influence on the development of vocal art, but also to touch upon aspects little covered in the musical sphere, which arouse interest among representatives of different specializations.

The article presents a panorama of modern research on castrati, reveals the destructive function of a peculiar operative intervention in the human body, a comparative comparison of countertenors and castrati as two different phenomena, it highlights the advantages of developing the natural sound of coloraturous male voice without medical intervention. The final analysis of the exhumated sopranists of the settecento century makes it possible to assess the current level of development of science, medicine and technological progress, which opens up new topics for research in various professional fields. On the example of the development of the countertenors as a unique example of the adaptive capabilities of the human body in the 20th – 21st century, the evolutionary leap of vocal art and its further perspectives in the context of working with the repertoire of “old music” of castrati is shown. The problems identified in the article are relevant during the period of active development of authentic performance.

Key words

castrati, countertenor, baroque, bioherontology, endocrinology, exhumation, metabolic craniopathy, pathologies.

For citation

Lyashenko Yu., Rudaya A. Castrato – vocal phenomenon in the light of modern research // South-Russian musical anthology. 2020. No 2. Pp. 119–127.