The Castrati and Baroque Opera | Newberry

The Castrati and Baroque Opera

Led by Jeff Nigro
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Five sessions, Saturdays, February 20 - March 20

1 - 3 pm (Central Time)


Newberry Adult Education Seminars will meet virtually via Zoom. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please reach out to

Seminar Description

This seminar will explore the superstars of 18th-century opera, the castrati--male singers who were castrated as boys in order to preserve their treble voices. The castrato phenomenon embraces science, medicine, ethics, music, literature, visual culture, politics, social history, and gender and sexuality studies. Presentations by the instructor will alternate with discussions of readings and recordings of music written for the castrati by such composers as Handel and Vivaldi.

Five sessions. Registration – $220

Jeff Nigro is an adjunct lecturer and research associate in the Department of the Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Materials List


  • A free digital course packet of additional material, compiled by the instructor and distributed electronically before the seminar begins.

First Reading:

  • There is no reading assignment for this seminar.

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, January 13th. Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning January 7 at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.