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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 a very famous ... See full summary »

Director:

Gérard Corbiau

Writers:

Andrée Corbiau (original scenario), Gérard Corbiau (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:
Stefano Dionisi ... Carlo Broschi (Farinelli)
Enrico Lo Verso ... Riccardo Broschi
Elsa Zylberstein ... Alexandra
Caroline Cellier ... Margareth Hunter
Marianne Basler ... Countess Mauer
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 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:

$1,573,411

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,600,226
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.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Overripe History and Histrionics
1 June 2001 | by harry-76See all my reviews

Famed 18th century (castrato) soprano Ferinelli invites a serious biographical study. This 17-18th c. period was, until recent times, skirted over by musicologists and music history teachers.

The result of this omission has been an unsuspecting awareness of the extent to which male performers dominated all forms of period theater, including opera, oratorio, cantata, ballet, and stage plays. "Ferinneli" had an opportunity to provide substantive information in filling this void.

Unfortunately, what resulted is just another Ken Russell-type production (a la "The Music Lovers," "Lisztomania," "Mahler," etc.). In fact, were Andre Corbiau's name not credited as director of "Ferinelli," one would swear this was a Russell composer biopic.

All Russell trademarks are there: excessive closeups of actors in dramatic distress, swirling activity to cover up script weaknesses, and disjointed highlights instead of sequence continuity.

Director-coscriptor Corbiau has Stefano Dionisi as Ferinneli forever falling down and collapsing both on and offstage for no apparent reason, and using the old device of having him hesitate to sing on cue before a full house to superficially create suspense and anxiety.

In fact, Corbiau, like Russell, is more intent on affecting than expressing: manipulating the viewer than sincerely sharing. As a result, one is held a arm's length of emotional participation throughout.

While no contemporary production can create a truly authentic period setting, there are questions which arise here: George Frederick Handel, one of the world's most prolific and fine composers, is reduced to that of a mere rival theatrical impressario; and Farinelli is forever acting oddly--claiming vocal loss, serious indisposition, and tripping out on opium. Indeed, at times this seems more like a baroque version of sex-drugs-and-rock-'n'roll.

On the brighter side, the staging of the operatic scenes are wonderfully on-target, having been obviously well-researched and meticulously designed. The combination real-and-computer-created vocal work is fascinating in its etherial timbre and in its negotiation of Handelean melismas, embellishments and assorted ornamentation. Likewise, the baroque pit orchestra and period opera house decor is strikingly detailed.

What a pity "Farinelli" fails in its main opportunity: to convey a simple, heart-felt story of one of history's most celebrated singers.


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