Alessandro Moreschi

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Alessandro Moreschi

Alessandro_Moreschi’s Biography

Ave Maria
The Ave Maria de Gounod sung by Alessandro Moreschi.

Coming from a poor and prolific Catholic family, he was allegedly castrated around 1865 to cure him of an inguinal hernia; Apparently, it was common in the Italy of the time to cure the hernia with this procedure (although it is said that it was an excuse for him to keep his voice and not get lost as he grew up.) Later, he was sent to study singing at school of Salvatore di San Lauro, under the direction of Gaetano Capocci, an organist and composer of sacred music, maestro di capella of the Basilica of San Juan Laterano of Italy, who promoted his acceptance in the Choir of the Sistine Chapel (1883). Since child castration for artistic purposes had been banned from 1870 onwards, Moreschi argued that his castration took place before the promulgation of the prohibitory rule.

Alessandro was a soloist of the Sixtino Choir between 1883 and 1898. This last year he took over as director of the same, a position in which he remained until 1913, combining his administrative activities with those inherent in singing.

Alessandro Moreschi
Alessandro Moreschi’s interpretation.

From his choral repertoire we have been left with a series of recordings made between 1902 and 1904, in which he performed ten works composed especially for his tessitura. These recordings have an exceptional value because they are the only testimony in magnetic format that has come to us from the chant of castrati. After analyzing them, it is clearly concluded that this is a powerful voice, but very mediocre and disreputable, characteristics that must be attributed to the fact that it did not have the musical education that the great castrati of the 18th century received. these reached glory. By the time Moreschi began his artistic career, the last of the famous evirados singers, Juan Bautista Stracciavelutti (better known by his modified surname, Velluti) had already died a long time ago.

The last years of his life were spent immersed in solitude for Alessandro, who died without the company of his adopted son, who became an actor.

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