Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with Quartet, premiering at TIFF to excellent early reviews, and in celebration of composer Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday today, a wonderful new music featurette for the film has been released.

Appropriately coming our way courtesy of Classic FM, this new featurette takes us behind the scenes with Hoffman, the film’s composer Dario Marianelli, and some of the cast, as well as giving us some excellent snippets of music from the film itself.

“Lifelong friends Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay), together with former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins), are residents of Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Every year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents unite to give a concert to raise funds for their home. But when Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), a former grande dame of the opera fallen on hard times, also Reg gie’s ex-wife and the fourth and most celebrated member of their former quartet, moves into the home to everyone’s surprise, the plans for this year’s concert start to unravel.”

Dame Maggie Smith leads the brilliant cast, alongside Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, and Sheridan Smith.

Making his debut, Hoffman is directing from a script by the Oscar-winning screenwriter/playwright, Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), who adapts his own play.

Quartet will be given a limited release in the US on 28th December, putting it in contention for the coming awards season. It will then open on 1st January, 2013 here in the UK, followed by a wide release in the US on 4th January, a perfect way to start the New Year. For now, here’s a taste of the brilliant music we have to look forward to, starting off with Verdi’s Libiamo ne’ lieti calici, also known as Brindisi/The Drinking Song, from the beautiful opera, La traviata. Enjoy.

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