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Historians and scientists have exhumed the remains of legendary castrato Farinelli in Italy to study the anatomical effects of castration carried out on young boys to turn them into high-pitched stars of the opera.

Castrati played heroic male leads in Italian opera from the mid-17th to late 18th century when the bel canto was the rage in Europe. Farinelli, born Carlo Broschi in 1705, was the most famous of them all, in a stage career lasting from 1720 to 1737.

His remains were to be taken to Bologna University for study by a team of scientists including an accoustics expert eager to find remains of the vocal chords and larynx to discover what gave castrati such extraordinary vocal range and power.

We're no scientists or nothin', but we're gonna guess it had something to do with cutting their balls off.

Farinelli rises from grave to reveal castrati secrets [Reuters]