But for those boys whose sopranos were sweet enough to make a mob boss weep, a minor surgery could preserve their voice, joining them to the ranks of the castrati. In fact, 70 percent of stage performers in the 17th century were castrati.
A fad that reappeared in the 1970s.
And how did one become an illustrious member of the castrati? You already guessed, you just won't admit it to yourself. It was via the process of cutting blood supply to the testicles, or more commonly amputating them altogether.
How did they perform such an invasive--and not to mention traumatizing--surgery on a six- to 12-year-old kid? By giving them a bath. They simply soaked them in a tub of water to soften them up, and then performed the surgery when they were rendered unconscious. We assume the unconscious part came from telling the seven-year-old that they were not, in fact, receiving candy for this public bathing but actually getting their balls chopped off.
Then castrati might hope for a good 10 year run as a performer, after which the boy would only be 17 and rethinking the long term strategy of a castration career. Of course, settling down and getting married wasn't an option, unless the boy could find that one in a million girl turned on by non-existent erections.
I think I just felt- no nevermind. Just a breeze.