HBO have ordered a pilot for Virtuoso, a musical period drama from True Blood creator Alan Ball, Elton John and David Furnish.
The show will be set in Vienna in the 18th century and follow a group of musical prodigies from across Europe as they attend the Academy of Musical Excellence.
Peter Macdissi, Ball’s partner who has previously worked with him on True Blood and Six Feet Under, will star in the pilot and also serve as an executive producer alongside Ball, John and Furnish.
The cast of musical students is already set and it appears that the net really was cast worldwide in the search. French actor Francois Civil (Rosemary’s Baby) will play Isidoro and joining him will be British actors Nico Mirallegro as Franz and Alex Lawther as Battista, Australian actor Lindsay Farris as Heinrich and Croatian actress Iva Babic as Leonid.
Production will start in Budapest in the spring.
I have read all this information over and over and I am still baffled as to how this concept will actually work. Will the songs be of the time, or modern? A drama as opposed to a comedy would suggest that they might go with keeping the music within the relevant time frame, but then would that appeal to the masses?
There is no word on whether Elton John will write any of the music for the show, merely that he will produce, but surely they wouldn’t let his talents go to waste?
I will definitely be earmarking this one as a pilot to watch, simply because I am so intrigued by the concept and also the setting. Vienna in the 18th century was a volatile, rich, opulent and scandalous city which saw its population and architecture rapidly expanding. As music was a favourite of the Emperor at that time, Vienna became the place for young aspiring musicians and composers, who were also attracted by the grandeur of the opera houses. Of course, the resulting influx meant that competition was fierce, but all of this and the city’s rich history could give way to some great storylines.
I have so many questions surrounding this pilot, and I can’t wait to hear more!
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