Episode 6 – The last castrato

Fred and his brother William travel to Milan in 1902 with the aim of convincing opera superstar Enrico Caruso to record for them. However Caruso is busy and non-committal, so the men seek out other forms of sound to record while they wait for an answer. Aiming high, they approach the Pope to ask if he’d be up for recording something (as you would). The pontiff declines but invites them to record the Sistine Chapel Choir in the Vatican instead. And so, by lucky happenstance and perhaps unwittingly, the brothers find themselves capturing the extraordinary voice of Alessandro Moreschi, one of the last castratos ever to sing before a ban on the practice comes into force…

Alessandro Moreschi and Fred Gaisberg (c) EMI Archive Trust


What is a castrato? And what should they sound like?


About the Sistine Chapel Choir


Alessandro Moreschi


Moreschi sings Ave Maria


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We hope you enjoy listening as much as we’ve enjoyed recording them

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