After early opera appearances in his native Umbria, he sang mainly in the German-speaking countries and was thought better suited to church and concert music.
He was notably engaged by Count Hieronymus von Colloredo as a court singer at Salzburg (1777–88), where he became a friend of the Mozart family; Mozart wrote a mass, K275/272b, and a rondò, K374, for him. At the premiere on December 21, 1777 of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Missa Brevis, K. 272b, Ceccarelli was among the soloists singled out for praise for his performance. Around 1780, Mozart revised "Exsultate, jubilate," possibly for Ceccarelli to sing at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche.
Later Ceccarelli held posts at Mainz (1788–92) and sang in opera in Italy. In decline he served the Elector of Saxony in Dresden from 1800.
- p. 390, Sadie (2006). "The castrato sang excellently ... (this was Francesco Ceccarelli, then new to the Salzburg Kapelle)."
- C. Eisen, p. 11
- C. Eisen, S. Sadie. The New Grove Mozart Macmillan (2002)
- P. Barbier (1989). The World of the Castrati: The History of an Extraordinary Operatic Phenomenon transl. M. Crosland, Souvenir Press
- S. Sadie (2006). Mozart: the Early Years 1756—1781 Oxford University Press.
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