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The CastratoReflections on Natures and Kinds$
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Martha Feldman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520279490

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520279490.001.0001

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Castrato De Luxe

Castrato De Luxe

Blood, Gifts, and Goods

(p.133) 4 Castrato De Luxe
The Castrato

Martha Feldman

University of California Press

The castrato voice sheds light on the figure of the deluxe singing star. Castrato singing was a form of supreme cultural currency, negotiable in the public sphere, at court, among princes, and in chapels. Castrato figures in these spaces deploy voice charismatically in ways that make an outsider-singer a virtual double to the king and the king’s cognates. The castrato so made threatens usurpation through mediatized performance of the kingly function whose charismatic role figures within the landscape of a failing absolutist—an abject figure onto whom a luxurious surplus is displaced.

Keywords:   Virtuosity, exchange, sacrifice, kingship, money, gifts, luxury, twinship, doubling, kings, monarchs, charisma

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