Athens-based company Stefi Productions is developing mini-series project “Letters to Leonard,” a real life inspired drama that explores events in the personal relationship between legendary conductors Leonard Bernstein and Greece’s Dimitris Mitropoulos.
Described as a story about friendship, love, betrayal and the passion for music, the series has been co-created by Pierros Andrakakos, whose credits take in directing Antenna Studios’ series “Save Me,” plus servng as an assistant director on Universal Pictures’ “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and Paramount Pictures’ “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”
Also co-creator and the series’ producer, Giorgos Linardakis is known for his work as line producer on Greek TV series such as “Agapi Paranomi” and “Voices in Deep.”
“Letters to Leonard” is set in the extremely competitive arena of classical music and orchestra conducting.
Mitropoulos, a prominent and deeply religious conductor who lives an ascetic life, decides to do a bold photoshoot with Life magazine that tantalizes the conservative New York of the late 40’s, especially as in the accompanying interview he opens up about his alleged homosexuality.
Sensing his professional downfall fast approaching, he advises Leonard Bernstein, his longtime lover and promising protégé, to hide in a marriage in order to keep his work and flourish in his career.
Bernstein does exactly as he is told but now comes back to claim his lover’s position as music director of the New York Philharmonic and plunge Mitropoulos into total despair.
A five-episode mini-series project, “Letters to Leonard” has been selected for next month’s Series Mania Forum Co-Pro Pitching Sessions.
“The story of Dimitris Mitropoulos started forming in my mind after I came across his photo which was published in Life magazine. He was sitting in a chair almost naked. In this interview he admitted openly that he was gay. Naturally I was intrigued, after all, one of Greece’s largest concert halls bears his name,” Andrakakos said.
“When I started reading about him, I discovered more intriguing details about his life and work, such as how he directed the orchestra without reading from sheet music and how he crashed on the stage in La Scala, while rehearsing Mahler’s concerto No.3. He was a very passionate man, passionate about music and passionate about life”.
“His passion for being his authentic self, admitting to being gay in the late 40’s, ultimately led him to his decay and death and I believe that this is a story that needs to be told,” he added.
“I always wonder what price we must pay for being honest with ourselves and not conforming to the expectations of society. When I pitched the story to George Linardakis, my co-creator and producer, he was equally excited, and we started developing the story that I believe will resonate with global audiences,” Andrakakos concluded.