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Farinelli (1994)

Farinelli, is the artistic name of Carlo Broschi, a young singer in Handel's time. He was castrated in his childhood in order to preserve his voice. During his life he becomes to be a very ... See full summary »

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(original scenario), (original scenario) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carlo Broschi (Farinelli)
...
Riccardo Broschi
...
Alexandra
...
...
Margareth Hunter
Renaud du Peloux de Saint Romain ...
Benedict
Omero Antonutti ...
Marianne Basler ...
Countess Mauer
...
Broschi
Graham Valentine ...
Prince of Wales
...
Delphine Zentout ...
Young admirer
Richard Reeves
Jonathan Fox
Jo Betzing ...
(as Josef Betzing)
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Storyline

Farinelli, is the artistic name of Carlo Broschi, a young singer in Handel's time. He was castrated in his childhood in order to preserve his voice. During his life he becomes to be a very famous opera singer, managed by his mediocre brother (Riccardo). Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The bawdy adventures of Carlo Broschi. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for depiction of adult themes and sexuality | See all certifications »

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 »
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Details

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Release Date:

17 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farinelli (Il castrato)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,122,948 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both male and female voices were combined to create the sound of Farinelli's singing voice. The male voice was Derek Lee Ragin, a British countertenor and the female Ewa Małas-Godlewska, a Polish mezzo-soprano. See more »

Goofs

LIGHTING. In scenes that show stage lights and chandeliers, the focus on them is softened, but it can still be seen that the "lamps" and "candles" are in fact far too steady, and too smokeless, to be or to contain live flame. Gaslight was not brought into theatres until just after 1800 (in England), and limelight -- with real quicklime -- around 1820. Also, some outdoor lighting -- outside palaces, etc. -- is obviously too bright, blue- or green-shaded, smokeless, and sharp-edged to come from a bonfire. See more »

Quotes

Carlo Broschi: [on Riccardo's opera "Orpheo"] You'll never finish it!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Chant Trompette
Composed by Alessandro Melani and Alessandro Scarlatti (credited as Melani et Scarlatti)
Chant: performed by Margarida Natividade and Françoise Renson
Percussion: performed by Pierre de Boeck
Trumpet: performed by Luc Capoulissez
See more »

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User Reviews

Good yarn, great music, rotten history
23 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

Farinelli is not nearly as awful as I feared it would be. It's similar in many ways to Amadeus. Like Amadeus, it has glorious music beautifully performed. Like Amadeus, it tells a good (if melodramatic) story. Like Amadeus, it has a marvelous period feel. Like Amadeus, the characters in this story have the names and occupations of real people, but their portrayal on the screen is not even caricature: a caricature necessarily starts with something recognizeable.

Farinelli was famous in history not merely for a phenomenal voice and outstanding musicianship and musical connoisseurship, but for poise, dignity, and perfect-pitch judgement of human character; he is portrayed throughout as a hysteric. Handel is shown as a pompous, bullying nervous wreck verging on the psychotic, quite at variance with all reliable accounts of his humor, sturdiness, practicality, and reputation for scrupulous probity toward his musicians and singers.

Handel could not have said, to Farinelli, during the latter's first sensational season with the Opera of the Nobility, that he would never write another opera, and not just because Handel was no faux-Freudian opera queen: Lady History inconveniently discloses that after that 1733-34 season Handel composed and presented Ariodante, Alcina, Atalanta, Giustino, Arminio, Berenice, Faramondo, Serse, and Imeneo; his last opera, Deidamia, went unperformed, but several in that list were significant successes, and some were revived more than once.

The two rival opera companies in London went down the drain more or less simultaneously, notwithstanding the enormous draw of Farinelli for the Nobility company, and notwithstanding the high quality of the music of its principal composers (Porpora, Hasse, undervalued today) and the stupendous quality of Handel's music (also undervalued); rather, the people with the money to afford the (by our standards) enormous ticket prices had simply lost interest.

One commentator here is skeptical about many "period" details. And rightly: for starters, that's not the way boys were castrated, but you don't need to know the truth. Relax, just enjoy the music and the costumes and the actors chewing the scenery.


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