Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well, that sounds ominous Farinelli rises from grave to reveal castrati secrets
Historians and scientists have exhumed the remains of legendary castrato Farinelli in Italy to study the anatomical effects of castration carried out on young boys to turn them into high-pitched stars of the opera.
Castrati played heroic male leads in Italian opera from the mid-17th to late 18th century when the bel canto was the rage in Europe. Farinelli, born Carlo Broschi in 1705, was the most famous of them all, in a stage career lasting from 1720 to 1737.

Carlo Vitale of the Farinelli Study Center in Bologna said they had recovered the bodies on Wednesday of the singer and his great-niece, who moved his body from a first grave destroyed in the Napoleonic wars.

Hard to tell what they're going to get from a 'skeleton', although the article also states that the remains are "in a middling state of preservation" whatever that means. Soft tissue? You could get stature from skeletal remains, but that might not say anything other than that "he was tall".