The life of an orchestra musician is marvelous. Mozart, Schubert and Strauss surround you. All day long you hear beautiful music. What other people pay a lot of money for, you get paid to do. You are gifted, you bring joy into people's lives, everybody loves you. And chances are high, you are an alcoholic, lonely, and burnt out.
Musicians have the third most stressful profession worldwide topped only by air traffic controllers and emergency room doctors. Their working hours are antisocial, their lives lonesome. And work demands from them constant negotiating with something, some of them need in order to perform and others have to fight in order to perform. Musicians have described all kinds of stage fright: ice-cold fingers, trembling limbs, racing heartbeats, minds gone blank.
Studies show that 20 to 30 per cent of all musicians take some form of medication to alleviate their stage fright. A little drink or two, downers or any of many drugs and it's gone. That's the easy way out. Others start with psychoanalysis: What do I expect from myself? What is happening during performance and where does it come from? But the struggle against it is not always easy. It is a long one and sometimes it is lost. And stage fright often leads to further psychosomatic diseases.
Never before has a film dealt with this terrible curse in all of its facets. We will also use a certain amount of tongue in cheek. Yet the blight remains painful for those who suffer from it. It is hard to live with and even harder to overcome.