This film was Belgium's entry in the 1989 Oscar race for Best Foreign Film. Opera singer Joanchim Dallayrac stuns a turn-of-the-century London concert audience with the news that he will never perform again. Prince Scotti, a patron of the arts, sighs with relief since his career was ruined years ago in a contest with Dallayrac in which his voice was broken. Dallayrac retreats to a lush country estate with Estelle, his long-time accompaniest and companion. He has decided to train Sophie, the 18-year-old niece of a friend. Enamored of her teacher, she yearns for signs of approval from Dallayrac but his manner is aloof. She is surprised when he takes on another student, Jean, a singing pickpocket he hears in a market square. Dallayrac is a merciless disciplinarian, and he makes sure that both of his proteges learn self-reliance and the ability to handle being alone on the stage. He then sends them to compete in an international singing competition hosted by his old rival Prince Scotti.
Lovely to look at and even more beautiful to listen to, The Music Teacher is director Gerard Corbiau's valentine to opera singers and the glroies of their art. Jose Van Dam, a great baritone, plays Dallayrac as a teacher who brings out the best in his two students played by Anne Roussel and Philipe Volter. The music of Mahler, Verdi, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann gives an aural flare to this multisplendored Belgian film.