With Glee coming to an end, Empire (which I will cover shortly) becoming an overnight success and Nashville kind of bubbling along nicely, it seems HBO are getting in on the musical act too.
Virtuoso, an 18th century musical drama set in the volatile backdrop of Vienna has received a pilot order from HBO and will focus on a class of young musical prodigies from all over Europe at the prestigious Academy of Musical Excellence. Created by Alan Ball and cast in the role of Salieri, an accomplished composer and conductor who is appointed by the dying Emperor Joseph I to start the university to honor Joseph's legacy is Peter Macdissi, the real life partner of Ball and who has also appeared in both Six Feet Under and True Blood. Macdissi will also serve as an executive producer on the show along with both Ball and Elton John, David Furnish and Rocket Pictures CEO Steve Hamilton-Shaw. Ball will write and direct the pilot episode for the show.
Further casting announced includes Nico Mirallegro (My Mad Fat Diary) as 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. Also included are Lindsay Farris will play Heinrich, an Austrian piano prodigy, Iva Babic will play Leonid, a Russian cello prodigy and 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.
I have to admit this does sound genuinely interesting as a show and personally I can definitely see myself watching this one. I might not have really gotten into Banshee (currently in it's third season) but I loved both Six Feet Under and True Blood and I love the fact that TV project wise, Ball has a tendency to tackle something different each time and the cast are interesting enough too. I also have no doubt that given his past record on his other shows that Ball will definitely have a gay character also added into the mix as well.
Press Release: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/elton-john-alan-ball-musical-717316
The pilot for Virtuoso begins filming in Budapest in the Spring and the series should air at some point in 2015 on HBO.