The play, Van Kampen’s first, received high praise from the critics when it premiered at the Globe’s indoor space, The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse earlier this year.
Set in 18th Century Spain the play tells the story of real life castrato singer Farinelli and his relationship with King Philippe V. The King is suffering from depression and insomnia and the Queen has tried everything to cure him. Hearing of a celebrated castrato singer who possesses a beautiful bewitching voice she summons him to the court but will this prove a blessing or a curse for the singer as he is drawn away from public life to perform exclusively for the King?
Claire Van Kampen is also a composer having written the Tudor music for the recent BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall, which also starred Rylance as Thomas Cromwell. This play blends Van Kampen’s love of music and drama as it contains traditional music played on Baroque instruments and features many of the arias that would have been performed by the real life Farinelli in the 1730’s. In the show these will be performed, at some performances, by opera star Iestyn Davies, who will share the singing role with fellow opera singers Rupert Enticknap and Owen Willetts.
Mark Rylance is one of the country’s most respected actors. The Tony and Olivier Award winner is best known for his tour de force performance in Jezz Butterworth’s Jerusalem in the West End and on Broadway. He was last seen performing in the West End back in 2012 in a double bill of Twelfth Night and Richard III which also transferred from the Globe Theatre. The original cast reprise their roles including Sam Crane in the acting part of Farinelli.
This production is directed by John Dove and features a design by Jonathan Fensom.
The Duke of York’s theatre will be transformed and lit almost entirely by candlelight for this production to echo the atmosphere of the Sam Wanamaker’s Playhouse.