Helen Berry The Castrato and His Wife

ISBN 13: 9780199655267

The Castrato and His Wife

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9780199655267: The Castrato and His Wife

The opera singer Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci was one of the most famous celebrities of the eighteenth century. Mozart and J. C. Bach both composed for him. He was nothing less than a rock star of his day, with a massive female following. He was also a castrato.

Ranging from the salons of princes and the grand opera houses of Europe to the remote hill towns of Tuscany, Helen Berry's compelling account of the unconventional love story of the castrato and his wife offers fascinating insight into the world of opera and the history of sex and marriage in Georgian Britain. Berry vividly describes how women flocked to Tenducci's concerts and found him irresistible. Indeed, his young singing pupil, Dorothea Maunsell, found him so irresistible that she eloped with him. A huge scandal erupted and her father persecuted them mercilessly. Embroiled in debt, the Tenduccis fled to Italy, and the marriage collapsed when she fell in love with another man.

Telling the remarkable story of Tenducci for the first time, The Castrato and His Wife is both an exhilarating read and a perceptive commentary on the meaning of marriage, one that still resonates today.

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About the Author:


Helen Berry is Reader in Early Modern History at Newcastle University. She is the author of numerous articles on the history of eighteenth-century Britain, and is the co-editor (with Elizabeth Foyster) of The Family in Early Modern England.

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No sooner had the career of the soprano castrato Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci (c.1735–90) genuinely taken off than he fell in love with a wealthy and powerful Anglo-Irish jurist’s teenaged daughter. Fleeing her father’s choice of a husband for her, Dorothea Maunsell eloped with Tenducci, marrying him in a clandestine Catholic ceremony in Ireland and an Anglican ritual in England. The couple absconded to the continent before reconciling with Maunsell père, then followed the singer’s engagements in Britain and Italy until Dorothea ditched Tenducci for the father of her first child. She married her new mate (also twice) and, via a suit her papa funded, had her previous wedlock annulled. The whole affair was an enormous contretemps, thanks to what would now be called a media feeding frenzy, to which Dorothea contributed her own, novelistic True and Genuine Narrative (1768). Writing clearly, judiciously, and sympathetically about all the dramatis personae, especially the heroic but improvident Tenducci, who retained his professional stature throughout, historian of the family Berry rescues an eighteenth-century scandal from oblivion. Utterly enthralling. --Ray Olson

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Helen Berry
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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The opera singer Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci was one of the most famous celebrities of the eighteenth century. In collaboration with the English composer Thomas Arne, he popularized Italian opera, translating it for English audiences and making it accessible with his own compositions which he performed in London s pleasure gardens. Mozart and J. C. Bach both composed for him. He was a rock star of his day, with a massive female following. He was also a castrato. Women flocked to his concerts and found him irresistible. His singing pupil, Dorothea Maunsell, a teenage girl from a genteel Irish family, eloped with him. There was a huge scandal; her father persecuted them mercilessly. Tenducci s wife joined him at his concerts, achieving a status as a performer she could never have dreamed of as a respectable girl. She also wrote a sensational account of their love affair, an early example of a teenage novel. Embroiled in debt, the Tenduccis fled to Italy, and the marriage collapsed when she fell in love with another man. There followed a highly publicized and unique marriage annulment case in the London courts. Everything hinged on the status of the marriage; whether the husband was capable of consummation, and what exactly had happened to him as a small boy in a remote Italian hill village decades before. Ranging from the salons of princes and the grand opera houses of Europe to the remote hill towns of Tuscany, the unconventional love story of the castrato and his wife affords a fascinating insight into the world of opera and the history of sex and marriage in Georgian Britain, while also exploring questions about the meaning of marriage that continue to resonate in our own time. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199655267

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The opera singer Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci was one of the most famous celebrities of the eighteenth century. In collaboration with the English composer Thomas Arne, he popularized Italian opera, translating it for English audiences and making it accessible with his own compositions which he performed in London s pleasure gardens. Mozart and J. C. Bach both composed for him. He was a rock star of his day, with a massive female following. He was also a castrato. Women flocked to his concerts and found him irresistible. His singing pupil, Dorothea Maunsell, a teenage girl from a genteel Irish family, eloped with him. There was a huge scandal; her father persecuted them mercilessly. Tenducci s wife joined him at his concerts, achieving a status as a performer she could never have dreamed of as a respectable girl. She also wrote a sensational account of their love affair, an early example of a teenage novel. Embroiled in debt, the Tenduccis fled to Italy, and the marriage collapsed when she fell in love with another man. There followed a highly publicized and unique marriage annulment case in the London courts. Everything hinged on the status of the marriage; whether the husband was capable of consummation, and what exactly had happened to him as a small boy in a remote Italian hill village decades before. Ranging from the salons of princes and the grand opera houses of Europe to the remote hill towns of Tuscany, the unconventional love story of the castrato and his wife affords a fascinating insight into the world of opera and the history of sex and marriage in Georgian Britain, while also exploring questions about the meaning of marriage that continue to resonate in our own time. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199655267

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The opera singer Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci was one of the most famous celebrities of the eighteenth century. In collaboration with the English composer Thomas Arne, he popularized Italian opera, translating it for English audiences and making it accessible with his own compositions which he performed in London s pleasure gardens. Mozart and J. C. Bach both composed for him. He was a rock star of his day, with a massive female following. He was also a castrato. Women flocked to his concerts and found him irresistible. His singing pupil, Dorothea Maunsell, a teenage girl from a genteel Irish family, eloped with him. There was a huge scandal; her father persecuted them mercilessly. Tenducci s wife joined him at his concerts, achieving a status as a performer she could never have dreamed of as a respectable girl. She also wrote a sensational account of their love affair, an early example of a teenage novel. Embroiled in debt, the Tenduccis fled to Italy, and the marriage collapsed when she fell in love with another man. There followed a highly publicized and unique marriage annulment case in the London courts. Everything hinged on the status of the marriage; whether the husband was capable of consummation, and what exactly had happened to him as a small boy in a remote Italian hill village decades before. Ranging from the salons of princes and the grand opera houses of Europe to the remote hill towns of Tuscany, the unconventional love story of the castrato and his wife affords a fascinating insight into the world of opera and the history of sex and marriage in Georgian Britain, while also exploring questions about the meaning of marriage that continue to resonate in our own time. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780199655267

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