HBO developing Elton John’s 18th-century musical series ‘Virtuoso’

There are many period movies and shows out there, but this new one HBO is developing, Virtuoso, has piqued my interest. Virtuoso will be an hour-long drama and follow a class of young musicians at a prestigious music academy in 18th-century Vienna.

This is the second period musical series HBO is developing — the other one being the untitled 70s-drama by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, and Terence Winter — and is created by Elton John, David Furnish, and True Blood creator Alan Ball. Ball will write, direct, and produce the series along with his partner Peter Macdissi, who has written the pilot and will be starring.

Macdissi will play Salieri, an accomplished composer and conductor who is appointed by the dying Emperor Joseph I to start the university to honor Joseph’s legacy. Iva Babic will play Leonid, a Russian cello prodigy. Francois Civil will portray Isidoro, a guitar and flute prodigy who was brought up in a rural beach town in Spain with no formal music training.

Lindsay Farris will play Heinrich, an Austrian piano prodigy; Nico Mirallegro will be Franz, a self-taught violin prodigy who comes from nothing; and Alex Lawther will play Battista, a Castrato prodigy who comes from a poor farming family in Florence but has had free education thanks to his singing ability.

There is no word on when the Virtuoso pilot will air, but I’m hopeful for a Spring 2016 premiere. It would be cool to see this and the Scorsese project premiere together.

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