Quartet (2012)

Four friends looking for a little harmony


At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean (Dame Maggie Smith), an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents. - BrianoftheNorth

Cissy (Pauline Collins), Reggie (Sir Tom Courtenay), and Wilf (Sir Billy Connolly) are in a home for retired musicians. Every year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday and they take part. Jean (Dame Maggie Smith), who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva, but she refuses to sing. Still, the show must go on, and it does. - BrianoftheNorth

The residents of Beecham House, a home for retired professional musicians, have just started rehearsals for their annual gala performance honoring the birth of Composer Giuseppe Verdi. This gala is more important than other years as the home may close due to lack of funds if they cannot raise enough money. Despite all being from a music background, the residents are diverse group, with some divas and divos amongst the bunch. Whereas, still randy Wilf Bond (Sir Billy Connolly) laments aging while he continually hits on the home's chief physician Dr. Lucy Cogan (Sheridan Smith), his best friend Reggie Paget (Sir Tom Courtenay) embraces his aging, and is enjoying living out his final years at Beecham House. That enjoyment is threatened with the arrival of a new resident, Jean Horton (Dame Maggie Smith), arguably the most famous of all of the residents and Reggie's ex-performing partner and ex-wife, who he has not seen in fifteen years. Their divorce was not an amicable one, and was largely because of her infidelity. The gala's organizer, Cedric Livingston (Sir Michael Gambon), believes that Beecham House's current financial problems would all be solved if Jean, Reggie, Wilf, and fellow resident Cissy Robson (Pauline Collins) would perform "Bella figlia dell'amore" from "Rigoletto" at the gala, they arguably having had recorded the most renowned version of the song. There are many obstacles to overcome in getting them to perform the song together. First, Reggie has to forgive Jean, who has long wanted to reconcile with him personally. Second, Jean has vowed never to sing again since her retirement, fearing humiliation in no longer singing as she did in her prime. And third, Cissy suffers from the early stages of dementia, which may worsen to the point of no longer knowing what is going on. - Giuseppe Verdi

The plot takes place in Beecham House, a retirement home for former professional musicians, patterned after the real-life Casa Di Riposo per Musicisti founded by Giuseppe Verdi. Reggie (Sir Tom Courtenay), Wilf (Sir Billy Connolly), and Cissy (Pauline Collins) are retired opera singers who often worked together in the past; among other residents are Cedric Livingston (Sir Michael Gambon), a former director, and diva Anne Langley (Dame Gwyneth Jones). All of the guests in the retirement home continue to be engaged in their former professions in one way or the other, including lecturing and initiating young people to music.