Wednesday, October 28, 2009

La Bartoli: Michael Jackson was like a ... Castrato?

We all know that the film revolving around Michael Jackson's not-to-be concert This Is It premiered last night during celebrations held around the world. This iconic singer, dancer and entertainer seems to have much in common with a kind of legend from operatic yesteryear - at least according to one source.

Whatever you might think of Cecilia Bartoli's voice, or the cover of her latest album Sacrificium (not liking it so much), she may have hit the nail on the head regarding Jackson's odd parallel to the male Castrati.

For those who don't know, Castrati were male operatic or classical singers who were mutilated (castrated) in order to maintain the high-pitched nature of their voices. The most famous Castrato was Farinelli, who's life was made into a movie by the same name (pictured lower left). Although it is certainly not child-friendly, I do recommend it.

The LA Times reports that upon contacting Bartoli in Europe, where she is promoting her new album, her comments quickly included Jackson.
“After 300 years we’re still ready to sacrifice our bodies for beauty or what fashions dictates for us, and it got me thinking about the incredible talent and musician of Michael Jackson. He was an amazing, amazing musician and talent and genius really of music. He was really also a victim of this, in a way. Mutilating himself — what he did for his body, for the skin, for the nose.”
La Bartoli goes on to saying:
“Most of these young [Castrati] were coming from very, very poor families, which they already have 10 to 12 children,” Bartoli says, again making a parallel with Jackson, “one would sacrifice, in the name of music, but in fact it was big business because if this boy was able to make a career he was considered a pop star and he was earning lots of money and he was the one who could have saved his family out of poverty.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. We still have the need to idolize people who give everything and sacrifice themselves physically and mentally for their art. It's tragic though. These kinds of geniuses are usually the ones taken from us all too soon.


Be sure to read the full article in the LA Times: Cecilia Bartoli on Castrati and Michael Jackson.

For more information on Cecilia Bartoli's new album Sacrificium - click here.

The film Farinelli is not the only thing recommended by A Liberal's Libretto. Click here to find more recommendations.

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