Twenty Minutes: Left High and Dry

Vocal expert Mary King delves into the intriguing and seductive lives of the 18th-century Italian castrati.

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TV & Radio Information
BBC Radio 3
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 20:10
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Italian castrato Senesino cavorted with the highest echelons of London’s society, earning vast sums of money and breaking the hearts of his devoted female following.

In this edition of Twenty Minutes Mary King looks at the history of those who underwent the same risky operation without achieving the fame of Seresino.

She charts the rise and fall of the Italian fashion for high-voiced heroes and looks beyond the performances and off-stage sexual intrigues of these characters to reveal the realities of seeking a living on the Italian stage.