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The NI Opera Studio presents DESIRE, exploring the work of 18th century composers Handel and Bononcini which will be released on our YouTube channel on World Opera Day, 25th October 2020. 


Counter-tenor and NI Opera Studio alumnus Francesco Giusti performs pieces by by Handel and Bononcini, featuring dancer Adam Ashford and exploring the work of the celebrated castrato Farinelli. We investigate the idea of the sex symbol and virtuoso performer: a female voice in a male body; palpable desire.

For the Bononcini extract, the director has drawn inspiration for the film from the element of water: its power and its tempestuous and chaotic nature; the allure and the uncontrollable wildness of the waterfall. For the Handel excerpt, the element of Earth inspires the film, with the nurturing femininity of the earth element, exploring identity and desire. Both pieces are emotive, reflective and mournful – yet originally performed by a sexually desired castrato. This marriage of the physical and emotional elements is something we seek to show through these short films. 

Find out more about the Northern Ireland Opera Studio, our development programme for emerging opera singers from the island of Ireland here or follow us on Twitter.


Francesco Giusti
Adam Ashford

Creative Team

Rhiann Jeffrey
Keith McAlister
Musical Director
Kate Guelke
Chris Thompson