Farinelli and Handel


Oh, my heart. This scene from the Italian film Farinelli. How could I possibly have overlooked this one? The famous castrato singer Farinelli performing for the equally famous composer Handel in a scene that burned itself into my heart when I was a teenager. How did I forget this? My God. The film itself is based on the very real castrato known as Farinelli (Carlo Broschi) who was the most famous opera singer in 18th century Italy. It’s full of sorrow, tearful sorrow- the story of how this poor man was forced into his fate, cut and disfigured, in order to preserve his ethereal soprano voice and the extreme joys and terrible suffering he endured because of that. I have a particular interest in the castrati, being a past opera student and present opera lover, and their stories.

This scene has Farinelli performing for the composer Handel for the first time, Handel with his trademark blonde wig and silver cane, and Farinelli with his striking looks and extreme vocal prowess. Watch. This is based off historical accounts. Handel becomes rather…bothered by Farinelli’s physical and vocal beauty and his emotional performance. This scene is cut in by flashbacks of what Farinelli endured to become the castrato he is now. It overwhelms the composer.

Surprise sexual tension. Seduction by music. The castrati. Baroque music.

My God.


~ by hln351 on February 23, 2015.

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