Monday, February 11, 2013

"Quartet": Opera, Old Age And Renewal

"Quartet," directed by Dustin Hoffman and based on the play by Ronald Harwood, takes place in Beecham House, a grand English retirement home for musicians. The home is having financial difficulties, and the residents are preparing for a benefit concert. Among them are former opera singers, including the flirtatious Wilf Bond (Billy Connolly); dotty Cissy Robson (Pauline Collins) and melancholy Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay). Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), a former diva and the ex-wife of Reginald, suddenly moves into the home, and the latter relives his bitterness regarding their brief marriage. Following Jean's arrival, the idea is conceived that the four will share the same stage for a performance from Verdi's "Rigoletto." The drama centers around whether Reginald will reconcile with Jean and whether Jean will agree to perform. While repeatedly citing Bette Davis's adage "Old age isn't for sissies," "Quartet" also poignantly and humorously depicts the possibilities for renewal in one's senior years.

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