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Caffarelli (real name, Gaetano Majorano)

naples career assumed porpora

Caffarelli (real name, Gaetano Majorano), Italian castrato soprano; b. Bitonto, April 12, 1710; d. Naples, Jan. 31, 1783. A poor peasant boy endowed with a beautiful voice, he was discovered by a musician, Domenico Caffarelli, who taught him, and later sent him to Porpora at Naples. In gratitude to his patron, he assumed the name of Caffarelli. He studied for five years with Porpora, who predicted a brilliant career for him. Caffarelli became a master of pathetic song, and excelled in coloratura as well; read the most difficult music at sight, and was an accomplished harpsichord player. His debut at the Teatro Valle (Rome, 1724) in a female role was a triumph. From 1737 to 1745 he sang in London, then in Paris and Vienna. His last public appearance took place on May 30, 1754, in Naples. He was in Lisbon during the earthquake of 1755; he retired from the opera in 1756. Upon his return to Naples, he bought the dukedom of Santo-Durato with the fortune he had amassed during his career, and assumed the title of duke.

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