But the 1600s were a different time. A time when hookers were honest and the stages were free from all those icky, heathen women. In fact, no woman was allowed in the choir or stage production in the 17th century. Theater houses were like those ball pits at McDonald's... you know, if those little plastic balls were actual balls.
Nonetheless, playwrights and composers kept writing female parts. To keep the songs from sounding like a barbershop quartet comprised of bulky Hungarian dudes, the choir masters would give the womanly roles or alto parts to prepubescent boys. And, every so often, one talented scamp's melodious voice would catch the master's ear and become the prize pupil.
But of course, all good things come to an end. Flowers bloom, caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies and boys go through the often traumatizing experience of puberty.
Just ask Macaulay Culkin.