The Modern Castrato: Gaetano Guadagni and the Coming of a New Operatic Age chronicles the career of the most significant castrato of the second half of the eighteenth-century. Through a coincidence of time and place, Gaetano Guadagni was on the forefront of the heroic opera reform, and many forward-thinking composers of the age created roles for him. Author Patricia Howard reveals that Guadagni may have been the only singer of the time fully able to
understand the demands and opportunities of this reform, as well to possess the intelligence and self-knowledge to realize that it suited his skills, limitations and temperament perfectly-making him the first castrato to embrace the concepts of modern singing.
The first full-length biography of this outstanding singer, The Modern Castrato illuminates the everyday lives of eighteenth-century singers while spotlighting the historic high points of the century. Most famous for his creation of the role of Orpheus in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, his career ranged widely and brought him into contact with many progressives theorists and composers such as Traetta, Jommelli, and Bertoni. Howard's focus on the development of Guadagni's career pauses on
essential, related topics along the way, such as the castrato in society, the eighteenth-century revolution in acting, and the remarkable evidence for Guadagni's marionette theater. Howard also assesses Guadagni's surviving compositions, which give new insight into the quality and character of his voice as
well as his technical and expressive abilities. The Modern Castrato is an engaging narrative that will prove essential reading for opera lovers and scholars of eighteenth-century music.
After studying music at Oxford and Surrey Universities, Patricia Howard joined the Music Department at the Open University, where she worked as a Course Tutor and a Course Team member. In addition, she has written and broadcast extensively as a free-lance, contributing in particular to the BBC's 'Music Magazine' and 'Music Matters', and writing regularly for the Musical Times, Early Music, Music and Letters, and Il saggiatore musicale. She has worked with the singers Emma Dogliani and Iestyn Davies, researching repertory, writing concert and disc notes and presenting pre-concert talks.
Contents ; Acknowledgements ; List of Illustrations ; List of Tables ; About the Companion Website ; Recommended Listening ; Introduction ; 1. From Lodi to London (1728?1748) ; 2. A London Apprenticeship (1748?1749) ; 3. Guadagni and Handel (1749?1755) ; 4. Guadagni the Actor ; 5. Building a career on the European Stage (1755?1762) ; 6. Guadagni in Vienna (1762?1765) ; 7. Return to the Veneto (1765?1769) ; 8. Success and Scandal in London (1769?1771) ; 9. Guadagni the Composer ; 10. At Home in Padua (1771?1782) ; 11. The Last Decade (1782?1792) ; 12. Guadagni the Singer ; Conclusion ; Appendices ; Bibliography ; Index