Andria, 1705 – Bologna 1782

Carlo Broschi detto Farinelli

Farinelli was not only a phenomenon who enraptured the audiences of Europe’s most famous theatres with his prodigious vocal virtuosity, but he was also a highly sophisticated musician who successfully exported and exploited Italian music, showing it to its best advantage. His inborn diplomatic skills along with his deep and genuine humanity and his interpersonal skills were important in the singer’s transfer to the royal court in Madrid at the service of Phillip the V, Ferdinand the VI, and Carlo the III. Thanks to Ferdinand the VI above all, Farinelli was awarded prestigious aristocratic titles and the services he rendered went beyond the boundaries of music: he became a rich and powerful man who also wielded considerable influence in the political sphere. Perhaps it was because of this very power that Carlo the III had him sent away from Madrid in 1759. His return to Italy in 1761 marked the beginning of the last phase of his life, in which the “pilgrimages” famous young musicians, among them the young Mozart, made to him in his regal villa in Bologna were his sole relief.
Carlo Broschi studied music in Naples under Niccolò Porpora, one of the most famous opera singers in Italy of the 18th century. In Spain, he worked with Domenico Scarlatti. Both of these composers contributed to refining his musical taste, especially from an instrumental point of view: it is well known that Farinelli not only sang, but was also a good harpsichordist and violist da gambo. During his stay in Spain, he enjoyed composing arias and sonatas for keyboard instruments. Moreover, he reworked a few of the “Arie da baule”, composed by others but which had brought him fame in theatres throughout Europe.
Among Farinelli’s slim musical productions are the six arias he sent on March 30th 1753 and dedicated to the enlightened sovereign, Maria Theresa from Austria, the Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, a great lover and admirer of the Art of Music.

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