Alessandro Moreschi (1858
) was director of papal music and the Sistine Chapel
choir at the Vatican
and probably the last of the castrati
. Moreschi is the only castrato
whose voice has been recorded.
The castrati were a dying breed, and Thomas Edison
was determined to capture the voice of the last remaining specimen. From 1902
, Edison made 12 cylinder recordings of Moreschi’s voice. Edison also recorded Moreschi’s boss, Pope Leo XIII
, praising the castrato to the skies, the first recording of a pope. These recordings are available on CD
The Vatican’s official position on castrati was that they were not actually castrati at all, but intact singers singing falsetto
. After Moreschi’s death, they refused to do an autopsy which would have proven that the singer had all his original parts.