The long-gestating HBO classical music drama Virtuoso, from True Blood creator Alan Ball, is moving forward with a pilot order and Elton John among the executive producers.

Bestival - Day 4Written by Ball based on a story he co-wrote with his partner, actor Peter Macdissi, and Steve Hamilton Shaw, Virtuoso is set against the complex and volatile backdrop of 18th century Vienna and follows a class of young musical prodigies from all over Europe at the prestigious Academy of Musical Excellence.

Macdissi plays the lead, composer and teacher Antonio Salieri, who runs the musical conservatory. Iva Babic plays Leonid, a Russian cello prodigy. Francois Civil plays Isidoro, a Spanish guitar and flute prodigy. Lindsay Farris is Heinrich, an Austrian piano prodigy, Nico Mirallegro is Franz, an Austrian self-taught violin prodigy. Alex Lawther is Battista, an Italian castrato prodigy. The pilot is set to film in the spring in Budapest.

Executive producing the project are Ball, Macdissi, Shaw, Elton John and his husband David Furnish. Ball has kept busy post-True Blood. He also executive produces, along with Macdissi, the successful Cinemax drama Banshee.