Farinelli Il Castrato

Must-See Cinema! Hits the highest notes of classical music dramas!

The grand, operatic gestures in the sumptuous, Oscar-nominated Farinelli are apropos, considering its subject matter. It tells the story of Carlo Broschi, the 18th-century castrato called Farinelli, a performer with the beautiful voice of a soprano and the tortured heart of a man who believes his gift is both a blessing and a curse.

Poster for the 1994 Oscar nominee Farinelli Il CastratoThe heart and soul of the movie lies in its fraternal love/guilt conflict. Farinelli and his brother, Riccardo, have a pact which dictates that they share everything – their careers, their women, their lives. It requires Riccardo to compose musically inferior works short on inspiration but long on flourishes and embellishments, allowing Farinelli to showcase his vocal range for adoring audiences. Farinelli doesn’t always soar with the beauty and feeling of its castrato’s arias, but there’s no question that it hits some high notes, which make it worth seeing.

– Steve Davis, Austin Chronicle

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