Farinelli and the King is a collaboration between Shakespeare’s Globe and Sonia Friedman Productions who have joined forces after the success of both Richard III and Twelfth Night in 2012 to tell this inspiring true story. The story features many of the arias which were first sung by the Farinelli in the 1730’s and the music is played live by musicians on Baroque instruments which alongside the glow of candlelight is set to transform the Duke of York’s Theatre into another world.
The story follows the depressed and insomnia plagued King Philippe V of Spain who lies awake all night in his chamber. The Queen is desperate to find a cure and hears of Farinelli who is a castrato with a divine powerful voice who can captivate all who hears it. Even Philippe is taken aback when he hears Farinelli sing and he begs him to stay.
Farinelli, who is one of the biggest celebrities of the time, must choose whether to take a life of solitude over the fame and fortune he gets from the opera houses across Europe.
Mark Rylance (Jerusalem, Wolf Hall) has been described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘one of the greatest stage actors in the world’ and he reprises his role as King Philippe alongside Sam Crane who will play the acting role of Farinelli. Opera star Lestyn Davies returns to the singing role of Farinelli with the role being shared with Rupert Enticknap and Owen Willetts.
The show has been directed by John Dove and designed by Jonathan Fenson, with the rest of the cast transferring between the characters, with Huss Garbiya now playing Doctor Jose Cervi, Melody Grove playing Isabella Farnese, Colin Hurley playing Metastasio, and Edward Peel playing De La Cuadra.
The show has come to the Duke of York theatre after a sold-out production at Shakespeare’s Globe and the magical atmosphere will be brought to the West End.
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