Joyce Pool - The Castrato


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Angelo wakes up in a nightmare.

It looked like his dream had come true. Even though he is born as a tanner’s son, he is chosen to follow vocal training at the Conservatory in Florence. What he did not know was that he would be emasculated.

The setting is Italy, around 1700, a time when the well-off in society bathed in luxury, immersed in gold brocade and burgundy silk, luxuriating in sumptuous meals, and great music. These are the times when a beautiful boy's voice is deemed invaluable and people went as far as they could to make sure it stayed that way. This is the era of the castrati. Castration is irreversible.

His voice will never change. He will never have children. He will never get married. But Angelo grows into a young man with needs and desires as every other. He knows that he is leading the life of the privileged. He also knows that he is worth very much to the conservatory because he is the best singer they have. Yet this the life he will choose to lead forever?

There seems a way out when Prince Ferdinando De 'Medici notices him. Angelo is invited to the court of the prince, where the composer Scarlatti and the inventor of the pianoforte, Christofori, also reside. In the long weekend that Angelo spends with them, a door to a whole new life opens: a life of wealth, beautiful music and – of course – attractive, smart and funny Rosa, Scarlatti’s daughter.Yet, Angelo realizes that if he chooses to live that life, he will have to turn himself over, heart and soul, to the whims of Prince Ferdinando. Will that be worth it if he can save his sister from poverty that way? If he will be able to see Rosa on a daily basis? Angelo has to make an impossible choice.

The Castrato | author: Joyce Pool | Paperback / softback, 285 pages | 9781935954415 | yet to be published

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