The Rise and Fall of Castrati
Castrato singers appeared in the Western World during the 16th century. They were needed by the Church for reasons that we shall discuss, and their skills were such that opera composers also decided to use them. This created a major demand for their services. Castrati reigned supreme at the Opera until the mid-19th century and continued to sing in Italian churches until 1913. The last one died in Rome in 1922. The paper shows that economic incentives played a key role in explaining the rise and fall of this remarkable group of singers.
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