Tony Palmer directs this biographical documentary about oft-married conductor and composer Andre Previn, from the outset of his career as a jazz pianist and Hollywood soundtrack composer through to his reinvention as a conductor with the world's most important symphony orchestras and respected operatic composer. Interspersed with footage of his blockbuster opera 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (based on the Tennessee Williams play), the film shows Previn composing, rehearsing, teaching budding conductors - and even enjoying the odd moment of relaxation.
André Previn turned seventy in 1999. From Berlin refugee to multi-Oscar-winning film score composer, from great jazz pianist to chief conductor of both the London Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, through four marriages including Mia Farrow and present wife Heather, with an honorary knighthood for his services to British music, his story is extraordinary.
Previn's remarkable career reached a climax in September 1998 with the premiere of his first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire. He also conducted the production at the San Francisco Opera, with Renee Fleming as Blanche.
This film tells the story of the making of the opera, based on Tennessee Williams controversial stage play, and follows the backstage trials and tribulations from first rehearsals through to opening night. Previn talks candidly about the experience and relates it to his international life and career.
André Previn has stood center stage in the world of music for the last fifty years.
Tony Palmer's ninety-minute documentary, filmed in America, Japan, Germany, Austria and England, tells both why and how.