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Review: Mozart's Sister

Wolfgang's understudy sister fights for the limelight
By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 4, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

When first seen in René Féret's speculative story about the older sibling of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (David Moreau), Maria Anna "Nannerl" (Féret's daughter Marie) is pissing in the snow. So much for naturalism, since what follows is at times as stilted as a high school play. Touring Europe with her wunderkind 11-year-old brother and playing back-up harpsichord, 14-year-old Nannerl dreams of writing her own works or, at least, playing the violin. Papa Leopold (Marc Barbé) doesn't think it's lady-like. By chance she befriends one of Louis XV's daughters, and the Dauphin himself. But the contacts go nowhere. A victim of the age? Not really. Nannerl's more into simpering than self-assertion. Féret's affectless narrative has little in common with the exuberance of Wolfgang's — and, presumably, Nannerl's — music. Maybe this is meant to show, together with the lush rococo interiors, the brittle restrictions of the time. But Féret offers no glimpse of the genius that breaks free.

  Topics: Reviews , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, classical
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