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The Music Teacher (1988)

Le maître de musique (original title)
Aging opera singer Joachim Dallayrac retires from the stage and retreats to the countryside to school two young singers, Sophie and Jean. Although the rigorous training takes its toll on ... See full summary »



, (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
José van Dam ...
Joachim Dallayrac
Anne Roussel ...
Sophie Maurier
Philippe Volter ...
Jean Nilson
Sylvie Fennec ...
Estelle Fischer
Prince Scotti
François Manssaux
Marc Schreiber ...
Alain Carre ...
David Ashman ...
English Critic
Bob Bender ...
English Critic
Jonathan Fox ...
English Critic
Jeannette Bakker ...
Philippe Drecq ...
Jean Gerardy ...
Old Man
Yvette Merlin ...


Aging opera singer Joachim Dallayrac retires from the stage and retreats to the countryside to school two young singers, Sophie and Jean. Although the rigorous training takes its toll on both teacher and students, there is plenty of time for relationships to develop between the three. Based on their teacher's reputation, Sophie and Jean are invited to participate in a singing contest staged by Prince Scotti. Scotti's protege is set up to get revenge for Scotti's defeat at the hands of Dallayrac in a similar competition many years ago. The young students overcome Scotti's trickery to win the competition. Written by Kevin Kraynak <kevin@kraynakk.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


PG | See all certifications »




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Release Date:

1 February 1989 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Music Teacher  »

Box Office


$1,086,894 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Joachim Dallayrac: Ladies and gentlemen, that was my last performance.
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Sorgio, o padre
(from opera "Bianca e Fernando")
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Lyrics by Felice Romani
Performed by Janet Bakker (soprano), Keiko Kusaka (herp)
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User Reviews

And you thought you'd never hear the phrase "Amadeus" meets "Rocky"
3 May 2000 | by (South Orange, NJ) – See all my reviews

Yet the back of the box that this videotape came in actually describes this film as such a cross: "Amadeus" meets "Rocky". That in itself should have been a pretty big warning.

The film revolves around the retirement of an opera star, Joachim Dallayrac, and his retreat into seclusion to train two young pupils, Sophie and Jean. The former is a great admirer of his work; the latter is a petty thief whom Dallayrac sees promise in.

Most of the movie simply focuses on the training of the youngsters, which is mostly just shots of them singing while Dallayrac watches. There's nothing very fresh about these scenes, and the writing is weak overall. Quotes Dallayrac's companion Estelle, when Sophie arrives at the house: "He's going to end up loving you," and so it's no surprise when he does, and then she loves him too, but then he wants her to focus on her work, and she gets upset, and ends up falling for Jean, who has already fallen for her. It's a recycled plot, to say the least.

The best characters in the film are the bad guys, Prince Scotti, his attendant, and his pupil Arcas, the former two of which strut around like Bond villains and deliver their lines in similar fashion: Scotti, upon first meeting Jean, asks if Dallayrac has told Jean about him, and then utters the immortal lines: "Je suis le prince. Le prince Scotti." ("I am the prince. Prince Scotti.") It actually comes out funnier in French (to me, anyway), but the sad part is that in any event I don't think it was intended to make me laugh out loud.

Scotti has put on a competition that ends up being between Dallayrac's pupils and his own, and since Sophie and Jean are the good guys it comes as no surprise to anyone when they win the day.

The cinematography is good, at least, and the actors do what they can with what they've been given, but the sentimentality inherent in the premise is milked for all it's worth and then some. Sophie's performance and the vocal duel between Jean and Arcas near the end are pretty much the only highlights in what is otherwise a rather flat picture.

If you're not a fan of opera, you're better off skipping this movie. If you are a big fan of opera, you might as well give it a watch, but you're probably better off actually going to the opera, where it's a lot harder to get rehashed ideas like this one greenlighted. (C)

7 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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