Siegfried Matthus (1934–2021) Farinelli oder Die Macht des Gesanges
Opera in 3 Acts 1996/97 Text: Siegfried Matthus
12 soloists - choir: SATB. boys(SA) - 2(picc.A-fl).2(cor ang).2(B-clar).1. – 0.1.1.0. – perc(2) - hp.e-db – hps.cel.synth – str: 184.108.40.206.1.
World première: Karlsruhe, February 28, 1998
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Duration: full evening
Text by the composer using a text by Walter Jens
Place and time: Chamber of the King Philip V. of Spain, Middle of the 18th Century
Characters: Farinelli (Countertenor/alto) - King Philip V. of Spain (baritone) - Nicola Porpora (baritone) - The Kings Personal Physician, also Barber (tenor) - The Kings Confessor, also Impresario and Priest (bass) - Maria (Bellino), later Anna Maria Strada (soprano) - Georg Friedrich Händel (baritone) - Jenny, Jim, John, English Opera Troupe (soprano, tenor, baritone) - The young Carlo Broschi (boy treble)
"The dramaturgical constellation of the subject forced me to use multifaceted and stylistic means. I have used melodic segments from the Farinelli arias that are still extant today, as well as other Baroque vocal and formal elements, models inspired by the Singspiel and the musical, and even a rap piece over a techno rhythm. The musical center of the opera consists of song and the human voice. Farinelli is a bel canto opera. (Siegfried Matthus)
Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, was the brightest star among the castrato tenors of the 18th century. Händels enemies brought him to London so that he could outshine Handels singers. Here, Matthus depicts Farinelli at the Spanish court, ruled by the pathologically melancholy King Philip V. In a review of his life, we relive important stages in the career of the singer, who lived outside of the norm and found his home in the fascinating twilight world between art and artificiality.