Dipping into the world of classical music, Mozart’s life has already been dabbled with in Miloš Forman’s glorious Amadeus. Whilst Interlude in Prague doesn’t quite reach the crescendo of Forman’s ivory tinkling, this very British affair intertwines love and tragedy with heartfelt longing, with a Mozart overflowing with charm and a cunning innocence.
Set in 1787, Interlude in Prague isn’t actually based on any real life events in the young Mozart’s life, locations and time period of his visit to Prague may be real but the events that unfold are not a biographical retelling but a captivating fictitious story that many could compare to John Madden’s 1998’s Shakespeare in Love, a turbulent tragedy that inspires one of Mozart’s most famous of pieces and masterpiece Don Giovanni through his heartbreak.
Centring in an affluent Prague and focusing on the hoi polloi of Opera loving circles and one Zuzanna Lubtak (Morfydd Clark), a young up and coming soprano with a voice that bellows through the operatic halls. Her vocal talent grabs the attention and into the ears of opera patron and influencer Baron Salok (James Purefoy), a man so full of his own self-importance and vanity. In an attempt to please his peers and Zuzanna, Salok brings Mozart to Prague but soon starts to regret his actions as attention steers to the handsome young and effortlessly charismatic Mozart (Aneurin Barnard).
Whilst Salok preys on women with a depraved, disturbing and piggish lust, Mozart takes Zuzanna under his wing to act as her mentor to mould her talent to the best she can be. Although married himself and suffering from his own personal demons, Mozart harmlessly flirts with everyone from the maid to Zuzanna, charming most into fits of jealousy. It’s Zuzanna however, that captures his heart as the musical muse’s feelings grow over his piano leading to a passionate affair which incenses Salok, leading to a harrowing ending. As his illicit affair plays out, along with the information he is fed on Salok’s character, Mozart delves into his own musical madness to create the masterful Don Giovanni.
The narrative doesn’t always hold the attention and at times hangs on a string but is quickly catapulted by the performances of two cast members in the despicable James Purefoy and the mesmerising Aneurin Barnard. No stranger to playing historical figures, Barnard once played the roles of Richard III in The White Queen and Lord Darnley in 2013’s Mary Queen of Scots and will soon be seen in this year’s Dunkirk, his pure innocence takes hold on the soul through his enticing gaze.
Director John Stephenson’s murderous cadenza can drone but reaches its falsetto with the performances being its main constant that holding the piece together, along with the stunning classical centrepiece providing its enchantment.
Interlude in Prague hits cinemas May 25th
WRITER/DIRECTOR: John Stephenson
STARS: Aneurin Barnard, James Purefoy, Samantha Barks, Adrian Edmondson, Dervla Kirwan
RUNTIME: 103 Mins
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