The Castrato and His Wife

  • Binding: Paperback

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The opera singer Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci was one of the most famous celebrities of the eighteenth century. Mozart and J. C. Bach both composed for him. He was nothing less than a rock star of his day, with a massive female following. He was also a castrato.

Ranging from the salons of princes and the grand opera houses of Europe to the remote hill towns of Tuscany, Helen Berry's compelling account of the unconventional love story of the castrato and his wife offers fascinating insight into the world of opera and the history of sex and marriage in Georgian Britain. Berry vividly describes how women flocked to Tenducci's concerts and found him irresistible. Indeed, his young singing pupil, Dorothea Maunsell, found him so irresistible that she eloped with him. A huge scandal erupted and her father persecuted them mercilessly. Embroiled in debt, the Tenduccis fled to Italy, and the marriage collapsed when she fell in love with another man.

Telling the remarkable story of Tenducci for the first time, The Castrato and His Wife is both an exhilarating read and a perceptive commentary on the meaning of marriage, one that still resonates today.

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