?Virtuoso?, a long-gestating project from Elton John and Alan Ball, is one step closer to seeing the light of the day. HBO has given a greenlight to a pilot for the classical music drama about musical prodigies.

The hour-long drama is set in 18th century Vienna and follows a class of musicians from all across Europe at the prestigious Academy of Musical Excellence. The pilot is written by Ball based on a story he co-wrote with his partner, actor Peter Macdissi, and Steve Hamilton Shaw.

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The three will executive produce the pilot along with John and his husband, David Furnish. Filming is set to take place in the spring in Budapest.

Macdissi will also star in the drama pilot, playing Salieri, an accomplished composer and conductor who is appointed by the dying Emperor Joseph I to start the university to honor Joseph?s legacy.

Iva Babic will play Leonid, a Russian cello prodigy. Francois Civil will portray Isidoro, a guitar and flute prodigy. Lindsay Farris will play Heinrich, an Austrian piano prodigy. Nico Mirallegro is cast as Franz, an Austria self-taught violin prodigy, while Alex Lawther lands a role of Battista, an Italian Castrato prodigy.

? AceShowbiz.com

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