Christmas tree comes to Versailles with Marie Leszczynska. The twenty-two-year-old wife of fifteen-year-old Louis XV has no money, so she brings new ideas: Mozart to play at the royal dinner, so good for digestion, the castrate Farinelli for singing lessons…. This is not the first castrate at the Court, Louis XIV had a similar weakness (above and below is the House of Castrates of Louis XIV).
Castrates are very popular in the days of baroque music. Millions of Italian boys are castrated to supply European operas and chapels. The Catholic Church frowns at the practice but employs their services. At the Sistine Chapel everyone has an alibi. Farinelli had a horse accident, a boy to the left had been bitten by a swan; there is a better one — a boar, a wild boar, that’s the boy to the right…. no testicles, no Adam’s apple…, the larynx box does not develop. They all still have erections, very popular, tremendous like some kind of a tree….