John Farinelli was an opera singer renowned for his skill at combining melodies and ornamentation. He also displayed great emotion through his singing.
In 1737, King Philippe V of Spain suffered from insomnia and sought the assistance of Farinelli to soothe him with song. However, Farinelli must make a difficult choice: fame and fortune in Europe or quiet solitude?
Early Life and Education
John Farinelli was born in Andria (now Apulia, Italy) to a musical family. His father Salvatore Broschi was both a composer and maestro di cappella of the city’s cathedral.
He began his training with Nicola Porpora, one of the most respected and celebrated opera composers of the 18th century, in Naples. At 15 years old, he made his Rome debut performing in Porpora’s Serenata Angelica.
He also traveled through Europe, visiting Vienna and London. During his stay in Spain, he gained immense influence with King Philip VI of Spain when Philip entrusted him with organizing an extensive Italian opera company to perform in Madrid – this marked the emergence of opera seria in Spain.
Farinelli was an acclaimed singer-performer who performed across every continent. Over the course of his career, he recorded over 200 operas and oratorios for recording.
He was particularly skilled in the “castrato” style, which he applied to both vocal and instrumental roles. This technique enabled him to sing in all vocal registers from tenor to soprano. Furthermore, his singing had the capacity to convey emotion.
His musical prowess earned him the position of chamber musician to King Philip V of Spain and made him a criado familiar, or servant, responsible for all court entertainments. His relationship with the king and queen was deeply personal; they regarded him as a musical hero and great influence on their family.
Achievements and Honors
John Farinelli was one of the most celebrated and beloved opera singers in history, his voice dominating medium to high registers with remarkable technical proficiency. As such, his reputation spread far and wide across Europe.
He was an accomplished harpsichordist and viola d’amore player, his signature song being a stirring euphony that will remain in the hearts of music enthusiasts forever.
He was a true musical genius, with immense influence on Spain’s court. His name remains synonymous with quality and is remembered as the man responsible for launching what would eventually become Spanish opera. In 1738 alone, an entire opera company was brought to Madrid due to his talent – making him truly unique among Spanish tenors.
John Farinelli lived a full and rewarding life. He was an accomplished singer, esteemed philanthropist, and esteemed educator.
In addition to his operatic career, he taught electrical apprenticeship classes and the building code. Furthermore, he served as a fire code instructor for multiple government offices.
He had several children and is related to Victor L Farinelli and Phil W Czyzewicz.
His two most renowned works are “Per questo dolce amplesso” (Son qual nave) and “Pallido il sole.”
He was a renowned operatic performer who received large sums of money from his fans. However, he was well aware of the dangers inherent in accumulating wealth and took great care to avoid becoming an embezzler. Additionally, he held great faith in his Catholic religion and valued its teachings greatly.
Farinelli was a renowned castrato, or baritone singer of the 18th century. As an accomplished vocal virtuoso, his looks, acting talent and stage presence won over admiration from both connoisseurs and regular viewers alike.
He quickly gained notoriety throughout Europe and his talent was recognized by emperors and princes who sought him out to sing for them.
But it wasn’t his singing career that propelled Farinelli to fame; rather, it was his sexual exploits and conquests which became tabloid fodder at the time. In an era where birth control wasn’t common and hyper-status social circles were prevalent, castrati were all-powerful. Farinelli became a sultry, insatiable performer whose popularity grew as he traveled around the world.