The lady on the left is Helen Mirren and the lady on the right is Greta Keller.
You surely know who Helen Mirren is and perhaps you don't know who Greta Keller was - and is.

The picture above is just one of many examples documenting how perfect Helen Mirren would to be to star in the role of Greta Keller. This little teaser therefore is intended for an audience of one and an audience of a million. 

The notion of proposing the motion picture Chanteuse to Helen Mirren, however, is based on far more than a mere physical and visual similarity between Greta Keller and Helen Mirren. It is about content, about the emotional depth required of an actress to convey the almost indescribable magic that allowed Greta to be who she was, to sing how she sang, and to love as she did. The fact that Helen Mirren “can't sing her way out of a paper bag” (Variety - March 2, 2015) is a unique asset. It eliminates any temptation to attempt the impossible: To sing like Greta. Too many times, singers thought they had “it” and miserably, in a few cases insultingly failed. 

I do not expect anyone to be singing Greta Keller but Greta Keller herself. 

As the title suggests, the audience of one is Helen Mirren, and the millions are any viewers interested in either Greta Keller or Helen Mirren, and of whom some, perhaps, quoting a caption from the trailer … 

In case you know someone who knows someone who knows Helen Mirren, and who can help get this gem of a motion picture project to her past the usual stone walls …

Because if Helen Mirren were to see this trailer, I firmly believe 
she would jump or knock down all kinds of stone walls in order to play the role of Greta Keller, the timeless “voice”. 

The purpose of this site and the video posted here and – in a higher quality version – on youtube, is to make the case that Helen Mirren will be perfect in the role of Greta Keller in the proposed motion picture CHANTEUSE, or perhaps even a mini-series. 

Two unique components give, I firmly believe, this project an irresistible quality. First, Greta Keller, “The Voice” is indeed both, a fascinating woman and an unparalleled artist,  imitated countless times but never equaled, let alone surpassed in nearly one hundred years. And then, there is the actual story, a love story between a 70-year old world renowned singer and a 22-years young man. Even without Greta’s immortal voice, the love story alone is of a deep, timeless beauty and defies any judgments and assumptions. 

This is not a typo. The screenplay would be based on my 1981 novel about the five years I shared with Greta Keller until her death almost exactly 40 years ago while a mini-series would extend further into the scope of Greta Keller’s amazing life’s journey, weaving it into the the last five years.

As the person who probably best knows who Greta Keller was and what her life and her art means to this day, I may be in the best position to see who could possibly carry a role like that of Greta and do so fully, without having to trim the character to the easy cliché. And in my mind, I know of no one who “has it” the way Helen Mirren does.  On the other hand, and I say that without undue modesty, I also cannot think of a larger and more rewarding and more perfectly matched role that could come Helen Mirren’s way today.

When, in the early 1980’s, the renowned New York literary agent Jay Garon, a man reputed to have “a nose for talent” and who was my agent at the time, introduced the first completed draft of my autobiographical novel about the years I shared with Greta Keller at a Hollywood party he was giving for his top authors (household names such as John Grisham, James Herlihy), he did so with words to the effect that all others present “would give their first-born to have this story”.
However, Jay suddenly died a few years later and I ended up being not the only one without luck to get along with his successors. And today, if I call an agent to represent me, I do not get past the receptionist. If you’re not an agent or a lawyer, agents or lawyers will not talk to you. If you send any material to any of them, it is returned to you as “unsolicited material” if you’re lucky. I’m not faulting their protectiveness as such or that agents want money and power, but I’m also at a loss as how to get script material like mine to someone who can connect to it on a personal level. 
Exactly forty years ago, Greta Keller, the first and the last great ‘chanteuse’ died in her original home town of Vienna. I would be lying if I claimed she died in my arms because I happened to be downstairs for some brief errands. Instead, she passed away in the company of her surrogate mother, Poldi, (seen here in front of Greta's headstone) who was Greta's nanny and confidante, and a servant to the family all her life. Poldi was an indescribable gem of a human being (who would merit her own movie (or mini-series). 

It was the end and it was not the end of a great love story in my life. Ever since that time, I have considered how her extraordinary art and her fascinating life and her unparalleled generosity of heart could be kept alive. Love does not end. Greta’s artistry did not vanish. And all that was created by and through her is with us today. To quote Leonard Bernstein “In a way, [Greta Keller] could never really have died.” (You can hear his voice at the end of the video.)

One thing is that this little video except for “Married” contains none of Greta Keller’s signature songs, and there are several reasons for that. Its purpose primarily is like an oversized postcard to Helen Mirren. The purpose is to intrigue, to show the similarities, to basically bring together one of the most pre-eminent actors of our time, Helen Mirren, one of the most prolific and unique singers of the past century, along with one of the most incomparable life stories and love stories and lover stories – can also be seen in plural. This includes the complex personalities and complex life stories, in case it will be a mini-series. 
A technical factor limiting the choice of musical material was how suitable certain songs are for compressing. In about 11 minutes, you hear seven pieces of music, each of which originally lasts an average of three minutes, plus a final 60 second compression of the 24-minute Rosenkavalier Suite with a “Rausschmeisser” waltz at the end, the very same piece I played at the conclusion of Greta’s official funeral, exactly forty years ago, in November 1977 in Vienna. 
The music you hear in this "teaser" is, of course, Greta Keller. 
First, before Greta begins to sing, you hear Harpo Marx playing the introduction to his “Guardian Angels”. The songs, just listed in sequence, are:
1. Guardian Angles by (and with) Harpo Marx
2. All of a Sudden my Heart Sings by Henri Laurent Herpin, Janblan, Harold J Rome 
3. There’s a Time to be Sunkissed by Yulia Whitney
4. Some Girls Have a Touch of Venus by Kurt Weill/Ogden Nash from the musical by the same name.
5. My Ship is by Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin from Lady in the Dark
6. Heirat or Married from the musical Cabaret by John Kander & Fred Ebb with the German translation by Greta Keller herself.
7. I Don’t Want to be Alone – if you know the composer/lyricist, please share 
8. Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup by Anna Sosenko 
9. Rosenkavalier Suite by Richard Strauss. 
The themes chosen reflect the ethereal sounds carried through the brittle air above the Vienna Zentralfriedhof on that cold November 1977 day and the celebratory, rambunctious waltz concluding the ceremony to reflect the boundless joy Greta had brought (and continues to bring) into so many lives. 
10. The statement by Leonard Bernstein is an excerpt taken from my phone conversation with him in right after Greta’s death and my personal request for a statement. 

The exact source – orchestra, date, etc. – cannot always be determined because a kind of bot “business” has taken to “acquiring” these recordings from the public (or not so public) domain and then “providing” them on youtube or itunes or elsewhere for money, either charging for them or “monetizing” the clips. I personally find the practice distasteful – to be polite. 


Continuing to address the question why are there no Viennese songs (Greta Keller was considered “Vienna’s Musical Ambassador to the World” and exercised that role with travels to all continents except Australia.), why are there no French songs and why is there no “Thanks for the Memories”, etc.. There aren’t because I set out to create a story, a little arch. There is another reason. No one in history has had the repertoire, the huge repertoire that Greta had. There is no one who recorded as much over the decades of her career. She was active for 50 years, roughly, actually more than that, but even if you “only” consider her recordings from the mid 20’s to the late 70’s, she was always up to date, always curious to do something new. She recorded her last new song two months before she died. So, that makes for a pretty expansive repertoire, a rather unparalleled scope of artistry. That doesn’t fit into ten minutes, and to try it would do her injustice. Furthermore, that’s not the purpose. This little video wants to just open the door, provide a glimpse into where two geniuses can meet, come together, across a span of more than 40 years. 
to be continued . . .
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