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HBO Orders Pilot For 'Virtuoso,' from True Blood's Alan Ball; Elton John, Peter Macdissi to Produce

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Jan 30, 2015 09:40 PM EST

HBO is ordering a pilot episode of new Alan Ball, classical music period drama Virtuoso. Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, are on board to produce alongside True Blood writer Ball, his frequent collaborator, Peter Macdissi and Steve Hamilton Shaw.

Virtuoso is based on a story co-written with Macdissi and is set in the complex world of 18th century Vienna. The show will follow a class of young musical prodigies from all over Europe at the prestigious Academy of Musical Excellence. Ball is set to write, produce and direct the hour-long drama. Besides creating the HBO hit show True Blood, Ball is all the executive producer along with Macdissi on the Cinemax drama Banshee.

Macdissi, who is known from other television work on True Blood and Six Feet Under, will star in the show as composer, conductor and teacher Salieri, who is appointed by the dying Emperor Joseph to stat the university in his honor. 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 portray Battista, a Castrato prodigy who comes from a poor farming family in Florence but has had free education thanks to his singing ability.

It seems to be that musicals are all the rage in the current TV world. The final season of Glee is premiering on Fox, but Empire, the hip-hop drama is taking over as Fox’s new hit music show. Classical music has also been the subject of recent shows, with Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, receiving critical acclaim.

The pilot for Virtuoso is set to start filming in the spring in Budapest.

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TagsHBO, Pilot, Virtuoso, True Blood, Alan Ball, Elton John, Peter Macdissi, David Furnish, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Glee, Empire, Mozart in the Jungle

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