Farinelli and the King is a new play by Claire van Kampen, directed by John Dove, designed by Jonathan Fensom, with musical arrangements also by Claire van Kampen. Set for a strictly limited 16-week engagement, the production's press opening is scheduled for December 17.
Rylance plays King Philippe V of Spain. Plagued by insomnia, he lies awake in his chamber. The queen, desperate for a cure, hears of Farinelli — a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it. 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?
Joining previously announced London cast members Sam Crane as Farinelli, Huss Garbiya as Doctor José Cervi, Colin Hurley as John Rich, and Edward Peel as De La Cuadra, are Melody Grove as Isabella Farnese and Lucas Hall as Jethro/standby for Farinelli. The company also features Pete Bradbury as understudy for the roles of Doctor José Cervi, John Rich and De La Cuadra, and Margot White as understudy for the role of Isabella Farnese.
The production also stars Grammy Award-winning countertenor Iestyn Davies as the singing voice of Farinelli. Davies will alternate performances with acclaimed countertenor James Hall, with Eric Jurenas serving as the role's standby.
Farinelli and the King at Shakespeare's Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February 2015. The production later played a sold-out engagement on the West End in fall 2015, receiving six Olivier Award nominations.
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