“You can do this,” Ricardo said.

Carlo looked up to his big brother. He trusted him. He was so smart and so gifted.

He peeked back towards the house and saw his parents standing at the window. His mother’s arms were folded and she turned away quickly when she noticed him looking at her. His father stood like a statue with his hands behind his back.

“Okay, Rico...” the seven-year-old said in his highest high-pitched trembling voice.

The two boys passed a handful of grazing ponies and stopped at a dead olive tree to which was tied a snorting grey mare. On her right cheek was a unique mark. The boys’ father insisted that it looked like a bass clef and it made her his favorite animal in the stable. She was a good omen for the future. He specifically picked her for the job that was about to be done.

Her front legs were secured by an iron chain that was wrapped around the stump. For two days, she had been left this way and was in an obviously foul temper. As the boys came alongside, she tried unsuccessfully to pull herself free and threw her head back to sound a loud whinny that mimicked perfectly a musical scale.

“Easy, Cantante...” Ricardo calmly said, “You’ll be freed soon if you do your duty.”

Ricardo put his hand on Cantante’s rear and stretched his other arm out behind her.

“Right here,” he said to Carlo.

The younger brother nervously stepped into place and, right on cue, Cantante kicked. A muffled thud was followed by an ear-splitting scream.

This intentional mutilation and subsequent castration ordered by the father of Carlo Broschi around July 15th of 1712, would make Carlo the most famous singer in the history of the world - Farinelli.

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