My Brother, the Conductor / Mein Bruder, der Dirigent
Mario Venzago literally puts his livelihood on the line when he decides to conduct Othmar Schoeck’s monumental opera „Penthesilea“ for a one-off concert at the 1999 Lucerne Festival: he mortgages his house and risks his health through chronic insomnia. During the highly demanding two-week rehearsals Mario is accompanied by his brother Alberto, the famous photo journalist and filmmaker. In intimate black and white pictures Alberto Venzago records his brother’s work with the orchestra and the singers. The rehearsals become increasingly strenous and take their toll on everybody involved. The whole enterprise oscillates between creative urge and total exhaustion. In a series of interviews Mario gives a detailed account of what he later contends were the hardest days of his life. The audience gains unvarnished insights into the work of a world class conductor and his orchestra behind the familiar scenes of glamour and grandeur.