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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Farnielli: Il Castrato
Directed by Gerard Corbiau
Columbia TriStar Home Video 03/95 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - depiction of adult themes, sexuality
Here is a drama that will stop you in your tracks and transport you to a phantasmagoric world where music, mystery, and magic hold sway.
This Oscar-nominated Belgian film, directed by Gerard Corbiau (The Music Teacher), examines the life of a hugely popular 18th century castrato. Farinelli's singing leaves women swooning and eventually lands him a position in the Spanish court where he becomes a favorite of King Philip V.
The singer's fate is linked to his older brother Riccardo, a composer, who tries to dominate him. The two earn the ire of Handel when they join a competing opera company in London. Eventually the brothers face up to the complexity of their love/hate relationship and the dark secret in their mutual past. With its dramatic operatic arias and its exotic European locations, this film is a feast for the senses and for the imagination.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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