New Antonio Vivaldi biopic announced, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker

16 April 2024, 16:25 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 16:31

New Antonio Vivaldi biopic announced, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker
New Antonio Vivaldi biopic announced, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker. Picture: Getty Images

By Ally Dunavant

Bohemian Rhapsody’s John Ottman is bringing the great virtuoso Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi to the big screen.

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The Red Priest himself, Antonio Vivaldi, is set to be the subject of a new film that’s been 20 years in the making, with one of Hollywood’s biggest names at the helm.

Editor, composer, director and producer John Ottman has been revealed as the lead of the new biopic, alongside music industry executive David Franco. Following his Bohemian Rhapsody success in 2018, which profiled Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, Ottman is looking to deliver another musical biopic, this time as director.

The news comes at a time when high-profile classical music biopics are in the spotlight in and around Hollywood. Bradley Cooper’s film about Leonard Bernstein’s life, Maestro, was one of the most talked about films of 2023. In another upcoming biopic, Angelina Jolie is to star as legendary opera singer Maria Callas.

Watch: 11-year old virtuoso plays Vivaldi violin concerto in life-changing Menuhin competition final

Portrait of Antonio Vivaldi, 1725
Portrait of Antonio Vivaldi, 1725. Picture: Alamy

The biopic about the Italian violinist and composer, written by Kevin Lund and T.J. Scott, has been in the pipeline for the last two decades. American filmmaker Ron Howard was initially set to direct, but plans moved in a different direction. Since then, the idea and script have been passed around the industry looking for the right creative team to bring Venice’s greatest musical export to the silver screen.

In 2018, Franco brought the script to Ottman, who he saw as the man “destined to bring Vivaldi to life”. The Oscar-winning editor managed to breathe new life into the project and turn it into a reality.

Ottman’s extensive career as a film composer has Hollywood wondering if he will also compose the score for the film. Keeping his plans vague, Ottman told Variety: “I was supposed to also score Bohemian Rhapsody, but I felt it would date the film. Instead, I used different elements from Queen’s music, and it’s now timeless. That would be my approach for Vivaldi.”

John Ottman showing off his Academy Award for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at the 2019 Oscars
John Ottman showing off his Academy Award for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at the 2019 Oscars. Picture: Getty Images

If a biopic about a Baroque composer seems like a tough sell to general 21st-century audiences, think again. Vivaldi’s career, influence and personal life are chock full of stories vivid and salacious enough to be fiction. His most famous work, his Four Seasons violin concertos, have remained some of the most enduring works of classical music with huge popular appeal.

From the concert halls of Venice to the spotlight of Hollywood, we’ll be sure to stay tuned for a new season of Vivaldi popularity.