Definition of castrato in English:

castrato

noun

historical
  • A male singer castrated in boyhood so as to retain a soprano or alto voice. The practice of castration was banned in 1903.

    • ‘And there was a fascinating account of the castrati, the male singers who lost their testicles before puberty.’
    • ‘His falsetto voice captures the chimerical sound of the castrati with eerie accuracy, something that becomes clear when we hear a scratchy recording of the last castrato, Moreschi, made at the turn of the 20th century.’
    • ‘We tend to associate Handel operas with high voiced prima donnas, the castrati and the sopranos.’
    • ‘The recital concludes with a rarely heard aria with cello obbligato from Arianna, written for the soprano castrato Carlo Scalzi.’
    • ‘The sole extant example of the castrato voice dates from the dawn of recorded sound, and the singer in question was advanced in years at the time.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: from Italian, past participle of castrare (see castrate).

Pronunciation:

castrato

/kaˈsträdō/