Letter: Castrati dads

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The Independent Online
I AGREE with Philip Gormley and Geoffrey Taunton (Letters, 19 November). But there has always been some doubt about Tenducci's procreative powers (even though Casanova quotes him as having two children). His marriage was dissolved by reason of non-consummation. The castrati were given to boasting but it is possible that the operation to which Mr Taunton refers might have had variable results, depending on the victim's age and physical development.

Regretfully, Alessandro Moreschi, the "last" castrato and the only one to leave recordings, about 12 in number, was never asked that question. He, too, claimed to have a numerous family, as Fred Gaisberg discovered when he made the recordings at the Vatican in 1902-4.

Elsa Scammell

velluti@cix.compulink.co.uk

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