Centuries ago, male soprano singers were quite common. They were called castratos, due to the fact that they were castrated as young boys to prevent their voices from changing during puberty. This procedure also gave them powerful lung capacity and breath control, as well as increased flexibility with their vocal cords. But it also left them with a slew of other health problems, and the procedure itself often led to premature death. As a result, the practice was largely discontinued by the end of the 18th century. Meaning there are very few male sopranos today. Few, but not none. Something I discovered when I was sent a video of Samuel Mariño.
Samuel Mariño is a Venezuelan opera singer whose voice didn’t change during puberty. He therefore retained a natural high pitch during his adolescence and into adulthood, and so it was suggested to him that he pursue a vocal career in opera. He took that advice, and today, he is a renowned opera singer who has performed around the world. He’s also a fashion diva, and he’s made a point throughout his career of challenging gender stereotypes.
I wish I could say that I’ve seen Samuel Mariño perform live, but sadly, I only have videos like this one to appreciate his work. One day, however, I hope to hear his beautiful voice in person.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!