Jacqueline Bisset hasjoined the cast of Vivaldi, BorisDamast's biography of the celebrated composer of The Four Seasons.

Bisset will play the Countess, a principled aristocrat whose patronage of Venice's poorest citizens harbours a secret.

Mechaniks is producing the project and was launched in 2002 by Damast andpartner Andrea Kikot. Both are serving as producers.

The story takes place during Vivaldi's days as a priest when he is assigned tobe the music teacher at school for abandoned illegitimate daughters of Venice'scourtesans.

Battling debilitating bouts of asthma as well as Catholic Church dogma, Vivaldiwins the trust of the orphan girls and goes on to put on a historic concert forthe Pope.

Bisset is joined in the cast by Zuleikha Robinson, whose recent credits includeHidalgo and The Merchant OfVenice, and is currently in Italyshooting the second season of HBO's Rome.

She will play an orphan who finds herself drawn to the physical and musicalcharms of the composer.

Malcolm McDowell is attached to star as Carlo Merlino, a sexually repressed,frustrated musician and priest who is Vivaldi's most ardent detractor.