Being basically a handsomely produced press kit for the world-famous Orchestra Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – a group of musicians historically committed to playing only symphonic works – The Italian Character does not lack for beautiful music.
By following the group through rehearsals en route to a final performance, director Angelo Bozzolini affords himself plenty of opportunity to include glorious classical pieces by a variety of composers.
The works are overwhelming in scope and complexity, and the film’s structure is meant to be similarly intricate, sketching out the personalities of the various players around the central figure of conductor Antonio Pappano. Although he’s a charming enough star, the film’s perspective never feels truly polyphonic. Instead, Bozzolini stays resolutely on message from beginning to end, insisting so enthusiastically and adamantly about the greatness of Italy’s musical culture that he almost drowns out the melodies on his own soundtrack.