Farinelli (1995)

Two-hundred and forty years before Rob Halford shattered his first
octave in Judas Priest, there lived Carlo Broschi, aka "Farinelli." He
was the greatest "castrato" singer of his day, possessing a voice un-
changed since his (intentional) castration as a youth.  Of course, no
one *knows* what Broschi's 3 1/2-octave voice sounded like, so Derek Lee
Ragin (tenor) and Ewa Mallas Godlewska (soprano) do the computer-blended
honors here.

The story chronicles Farinelli's earlier years, when the singer (Stefano
Dionish) was torn between the style of his composer/conductor brother
(Enrico Lo Verson) and the substance of rival composer George Frederick
Handel (Jerone Krabbe).  Also in the mix: his relationship with close
female companion, Alexandria (Elsa Zylberstein).

FARINELLI covers all these bases with an intriguing musical biography
that never fails to fill both the eye and the ear.  The story could be
leaner, but the cast is quite appealing.  Best of the bunch is Krabbe,
who's great fun as the "serious" composer.  The period instruments are a
nice touch, too.

In French and Italian with subtitles.

Oddly enough:  Zylberstein also has a few scenes in JEFFERSON IN PARIS
               as the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette.

Grade: B-

Copyright 1995 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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