Anthony Hopkins will play Handel, in a new biopic about the composer’s ‘Messiah’

3 May 2024, 12:47

Anthony Hopkins has been cast as Handel in an upcoming biopic, ‘The King of Covent Garden’, telling the story of the composer’s ‘Messiah’.
Anthony Hopkins has been cast as Handel in an upcoming biopic, ‘The King of Covent Garden’, telling the story of the composer’s ‘Messiah’. Picture: Getty

By Siena Linton

A new composer biopic is coming to our screens, with two-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins set to play the great 18th-century composer George Frideric Handel in ‘The King of Covent Garden’.

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A new composer biopic is on the way, and this time its subject is one of the greats of Baroque music.

George Frideric Handel, born in Halle (now modern day Germany) and later a naturalised Brit, was one of the most successful musical figures of the 18th century.

In a newly announced film, The King of Covent Garden, acclaimed actor Sir Anthony Hopkins will play the great composer, as he wrote his epic choral work Messiah in just 24 days during the summer of 1741.

Hopkins himself has a close relationship with classical music, having started to play piano aged six before studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He starred as the piano-playing Pope Benedict XVI in the 2019 film The Two Popes, and has even had a waltz he wrote performed by André Rieu and his orchestra.

“Hopkins and Handel are maestros of their art and together they create a joyous and uplifting cinematic event,” said Tim Haslam, founder of Embankment Films.

Read more: Can Anthony Hopkins play piano? Inside the actor’s musical skills and compositions

Sir Anthony Hopkins plays piano in an empty hotel lobby

Read more: Emotional Sir Anthony Hopkins watches as André Rieu’s orchestra plays the waltz he wrote 50 years ago...

From his Water Music Suites to Music for the Royal Fireworks, Handel’s music remains a firm favourite to this day. His anthemic Zadok the Priest has been performed at every single British coronation since it was written for that of King George II in 1727, and has even been adapted as a football anthem, for the UEFA Champions League.

Handel’s Messiah, which the film will focus on, includes the famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, which Haslam says: “is globally the most performed of choral favourites. It features in a plethora of iconic entertainment, from Baywatch to The Simpsons, from Runaway Bride to Scrooged.

“In excess of 5 million people have seen a performance of Messiah in the Royal Albert Hall alone.”

Read more: Sir Anthony Hopkins, 85, stuns hotel staff with spontaneous piano playing in empty lobby

Director Andrew Levitas added: “The storytelling is hinged upon an unlikely pair, who meet each other at their lowest points, and together create a magnificent never-heard-before ‘sound for the people’.”

Star mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins is also working as executive producer on the film.

The King of Covent Garden is due to be released in late autumn 2025, with the film’s production company billing it as “a powerfully majestic celebration of genius breaking all the rules to create an anthem inspiring the popular imagination of global audiences.”