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Farinelli (1994)

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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 »

Director:

Gérard Corbiau

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stefano Dionisi ... Carlo Broschi (Farinelli)
Enrico Lo Verso ... Riccardo Broschi
Elsa Zylberstein ... Alexandra
Caroline Cellier ... Margareth Hunter
Marianne Basler Marianne Basler ... Countess Mauer
Jacques Boudet Jacques Boudet ... Felipe V
Graham Valentine Graham Valentine ... Prince of Wales
Pier Paolo Capponi ... Broschi
Renaud du Peloux de Saint Romain Renaud du Peloux de Saint Romain ... Benedict Hunter
Delphine Zentout ... Young admirer
Omero Antonutti ... Nicola Porpora
Jeroen Krabbé ... Georg Friedrich Händel
Richard Reeves Richard Reeves
Jonathan Fox Jonathan Fox
Jo Betzing 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:

Où s'arrête le pouvoir de sa voix? See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

France | Italy | Belgium | UK

Language:

French | Italian

Release Date:

17 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Farinelli (Il castrato) See more »

Filming Locations:

Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,122,948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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: I admire your nerve, madame, in daring to defy Handel.
Countess Mauer: Women are very strong, signor Farinelli. Men's weaknesses make it necessary.
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Connections

Referenced in The 67th Annual Academy Awards (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Qual guerriero in campo armato
[Dario's Solo: Act I, Scene XVI, from Opera "Idaspe"]
Composed by Riccardo Broschi, Libretto by G.P. Candi and Domenico Lalli (1730, Venice)
Vocals performed by Ewa Malas-Godlewska (Soprano) and Derek Lee Ragin (Countertenor)
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User Reviews

Good yarn, great music, rotten history
23 June 2003 | by alsihlerSee 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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