Farinelli and the King

Mark Rylance stars in this new play with music by author and composer Claire van Kampen about a Spanish monarch on the brink of madness who finds unexpected solace in the voice of a world-renowned castrato.

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King Philippe V of Spain plagued by insomnia, 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?

Eligible Performer in a Leading Role: Mark Rylance


  • Playwright Claire van Kampen also wrote original music for the piece. She is married to Mark Rylance.
  • The production featured two performers in the role of Farinelli—Sam Crane performed the dialogue, with countertenor Iestyn Davies handling the singing.


Farinelli and the King premiered in London at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2015. It later moved to the West End before transferring to Broadway. The West End production was nominated for six Olivier Awards.


Available at Amazon