Farinelli and the King

Duke of Yorks Theatre

Farinelli and the King

14 Sep 2015 - 05 Dec 2015

£10.00 - £95.00

Pro reviewers rating
8 reviews

4.1 out of 5.0
Peer reviewers rating
1 reviews

4.0 out of 5.0

Depressed and plagued by insomnia, King Philippe V of Spain lies awake in his chamber. The Queen, desperate to find a cure, hears of Farinelli – a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it. 

Even Philippe is astonished when Farinelli sings, and begs him to stay. But will Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time, choose a life of solitude over fame and fortune in the opera-houses of Europe? And will his extraordinary talent prove to be a curse rather than a blessing?

Inspiring true story featuring many of the arias first sung by Farinelli in the 1730s and music played live by musicians on Baroque instruments in a theatre lit almost exclusively by the glow of candlelight.

A moving and mesmerising new play, fresh from a sell-out run in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe.

Mark Rylance, Sam Crane and Iestyn Davies return. The singing role of Farinelli will be shared with Owen Willets.


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“Witty and moving... Has lost neither its intimacy nor its power... An evening that no theatre or music lover can afford to miss.”

Michael Arditti (Express)

“This revival... allows Rylance to complicate and deepen his earlier brilliant incarnation of the depression-ridden Philippe V. ”

Paul Taylor (The Independent)

“Rylance's loony melancholic leader finds him at his most delicate and ethereal, and clownish... Exquisite. ”

Michael Coveney (What's on Stage, The Stage, Independent)

“A successful attempt to transfer some of the magic of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to the West End... Rylance in his element. ”

Natasha Tripney (The Stage, Time Out)

“The real star – whose talent makes you tingle – is counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, with help from Handel... Fantastico Farinelli. ”

Quentin Letts (Daily Mail)

“A magnificent performer at the height of his powers... The musical interludes are sung exquisitely... Joyous. ”

Fiona Mountford (Evening Standard)

“Rylance doesn’t disappoint... Its slender quality sits well with its otherworldly subject and ethereal star-player. ”

Dominic Cavendish (The Telegraph)

“In... a West End theatre, it initially feels... somewhat creaky... Its rewards get much better the further it progresses. ”

Time Out (Other reviewers)

Reviews (0)