Farinelli (1994)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  17 March 1995 (USA)
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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 »



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


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


Où s'arrête le pouvoir de sa voix?


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

17 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farinelli (Il castrato)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,122,948 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Carlo Broschi: I admire your nerve, madame, in daring to defy Handel.
Countess Mauer: Women are very strong, signor Farinelli. Men's weaknesses make it necessary.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Enchanting to the senses, but short on content...
18 November 1999 | by (Philadelphia, USA) – See all my reviews

'Farinelli' is a film well worth seeing for its memorable visual imagery and its unique soundtrack. Mid-film scenes set against the decadence of 17th-century European court life make for charming costumes and sets. Contrasting visuals of rural Italy provide their own pastoral allure that is no less charming. Moreover, the film rises admirably to the daunting technical and artistic task of reproducing the tone of a castrato voice, considering that the musical world has not seen or heard a castrato singer for more than a century.

'Ah,' you say, 'sounds gorgeous...but what's it about?' Enter Carlo and Riccardo Broschi, Italian brothers who share musical aspirations: Riccardo composes, and Carlo sings what he writes. Carlo is a gifted castrato, but Riccardo is a mediocre composer at best. In time, Carlo becomes the renowned Farinelli while Riccardo struggles with his lack of talent/recognition as well as the troublesome fact that Carlo is his meal ticket.

The simple story line masks rich potential (think 'Amadeus'), but 'Farinelli' is hampered by shallow character development and its inexplicable tendency to substitute all-too-frequent sex scenes for emotional power. Without the full realization of the characters or the ramifications of the plot, the film struggles to keep a viewer engaged, at least in my own case. The beautiful pageantry of 'Farinelli' fails to compensate for its hollow dramatic core.

In short? Not bad, but a better music movie is 'Amadeus'(among others), and a better movie with beautiful Italian visuals is 'A Room With A View' (among others).

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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