Tuesday 16 April 2019

An afternoon with Farinelli

Portrait of Farinelli by Jacopo Amigoni (c. 1755)
Portrait of Farinelli by Jacopo Amigoni (c. 1755)
The castrato Farinelli remains one of the most fascinating yet tantalising figures of the 18th century, partly because of his contemporary popularity and the extreme reactions his performances generated. Yet, as with most singers of the past, no amount of reading of treatises enables us to be quite certain exactly what sound the voices made, and with a castrato there is the added frustration that even the voice type has died out (the last known castrato died in 1922). So to recapture Farinelli, all we really have is the music written for him, taking advantage of his phenomenal vocal technique.

Les Bougies Baroques (led by Piotr Jordan & conducted by Ian Peter Bugeja) are being joined by mezzo-soprano Maria Oustrokhova and counter-tenor Cenk Karaferya for a concert exploring Farinelli through his music at the amazing Rotherhithe shaft of the Brunel Museum on Sunday 28 April 2019 at 4.30pm

The concert includes music by Nicolo Porpora (who was Farinelli's teacher) and Riccardo Broschi (Farinelli's brother who wrote a significant quantity of music for him) as well as Vinci, Hasse, Leo, Ariosto, Giacomelli and Galuppi. One name is missing from the list; Handel failed in his attempts to engage Farinelli and may never have met him. The singer does not seem to have had any Handel in his repertoire and the one time he sang in a Handel opera in London it was not under Handel's direction and Farinelli brought his own arias!

Further information and tickets from the TicketTailor website.

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