Opera 21 Releases Scenes from Upcoming Work ‘The Last Castrato’

By Logan Martell

New company Opera 21 has released extracts from their upcoming work, “The Last Castrato.”

The opera follows the private life of Alessandro Moreschi, who was the last castrato singer employed by the Pope. Composed by Torsten Rasch, and with libretto by Max Hoehn, the extracts feature countertenor Andrew Watts, a leader of contemporary repertoire, along with soprano Rebecca Bottone, bass-baritone Alan Ewing, and The Chroma Ensemble, under the baton of Gerry Cornelius, who is the new Music Director of English Touring Opera.

“The early recordings Alessandro Moreschi in 1902-1904 are deeply mysterious and haunting documents for a listener. They’re available on YouTube at the click of a button and, as the comments section shows, still provoke a wide range of reactions from horror to macabre fascination,” Hoehn told OperaWire. “This was the initial inspiration to delve further into this man’s life. When it turned out that recent research revealed that he had defied his employer, the Catholic Church, and all of society by deciding to marry a much younger woman and then later adopting her son (from another man) I knew we had the makings here for a great opera.”

Opera 21 was founded earlier this year by Hoehn, as a way to provide a space to develop and showcase new works, as well as support composers and artists through a new commissioning model. The company seeks to present the excerpts and create interest in having the rest of the opera commissioned. They can be found on the company’s SoundCloud and YouTube pages.