Caffarelli, an Italian vocalist, whose real name was Gaetano Majorano, born at or near Bari in 1703, died in Naples in 1783. He was the son of a poor peasant, and his fine voice early attracting attention, it was cultivated under the tuition of the musician Caf-faror after whom he assumed the name of Caf-farelli (little Caffaro). His father had him castrated, and after six years' study under Porpora of Naples, who declared him to be the finest singer of Italy if not of the world, he first appeared in 1728 at the Valle theatre in Rome, assuming a female part, as was usual with male soprano singers of those days, and his handsome face increased the number of his admirers. In 1730 he won new success and acquired a large fortune in England, after which he received at Venice the then unprecedented annual salary of 800 sequins (about $2,000). In 1750 he sang wonderfully in sacred music at the court of France, but offended Louis XV. by insisting upon receiving in addition to another present the king's portrait, which was given only to foreign ministers, remarking that all the ambassadors in the world could not produce one single Caffarelli. He was immediately ordered to leave France, and on his return to Italy purchased the dominion of San Dorato, and built a palace on which he put the inscription, Amphion Thebas, ego domum.
He had no rival excepting perhaps Farinelli in the compass, flexibility, beauty, and blended vigor and sweetness of his voice. He also had some talent for composition, and enriched Italian music with new and brilliant chromatic scales.