Géraud Corbiau’s rather schlocky biopic, Farinelli (1994) covers an important phase in the career of this most celebrated singer of the early eighteenth century. The establishment of the Opera of the Nobility in the 1730s, with Niccolò Porpora as the main composer, was a direct challenge to Handel’s (second) Royal Academy of Music, Farinelli, the celebrated castrato singer, was drafted as the main attraction to compete with the mighty Handel and his troupe. In Corbiau’s film, most of the music is by Handel and Porpora, but there is the odd snippet by another giant of eighteenth-century opera, Johann Adolph Hasse (1699–1783).
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