July 10, 2012

Farinelli in Three




The legendary castrato Farinelli (1705-1782) - aka Carlo Broschi - Handel's muse and student of the legendary vocal maestro Nicola Porpora. His fame increased exponentially after his debut at the age of fifteen. Don't you wish you could hear what he sounded like? 




"Farinelli had a penetrating, full, rich, bright and well-modulated soprano voice, with a range at that time from the A below middle C to the D two octaves above middle C. ... His intonation was pure, his trill beautiful, his breath control extraordinary and his throat very agile, so that he performed the widest intervals quickly and with the greatest ease and certainty. Passagework and all kinds of melismas were of no difficulty to him. In the invention of free ornamentation in adagio he was very fertile."




All images from the New York Public Library Digital Archive. 

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