06 Apr 2006
Farinelli: The first pop star
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Farinelli and his fellow castrati were fêted all over Europe. Michael Church explores a new exhibition that explains why
[Indepdendent 6 April 2006]
"Mention the word castrato to any male music lover," says Nicholas Clapton, "and he'll go green about the gills, because the idea is a terrible threat to his sexual identity." As a counter-tenor who has twice impersonated Farinelli, the most famous castrato of them all, Clapton is in a position to know. And as curator of an exhibition entitled Handel and the Castrati, which has just opened at the Handel House Museum in London, he's determined to bring these monstres sacrés into focus for the first time as people, rather as a historical freak-show.