Home-grown island star of stage and screen Samantha Barks is winning plaudits for her performance in her latest role as an 18th century opera singer in her latest film, released this week.

Sam, who was raised in Laxey, has a lead role in the film ’Interlude In Prague’, which tells the story of a young Mozart who escapes the stifling, privileged life he leads in Vienna, and moves to Prague, at the invitation of Baron Saloka, in order to rekindle his creative zeal.

There he meets and falls in love with a young opera singer, named Zuzanna Lubtak.

The young composer becomes over whelmed in the circle of devastation, lust, betrayal and murder their forbidden affair causes , and he uses it to influence the creation of one of his masterpieces, ’Don Giovanni’.

Samantha takes the role of Josefa Duchek, a star of the Prague operatic circle.

Aneurin Barnard, the young Welsh actor who starred in the BBC adaptation of War And Peace, plays the title role, and rising actress Morfydd Clark plays Zuzanna.

Other notable names are James Purefoy as Saloka and Adrian Edmondson as Herr Lubtak.

Josefa is a pivotal role in the film, as a muse, inspiration and friend to Mozart.

Director John Stephenson OBE described Josefa as a ’huge star, very much the Madonna of her era’.

And, as a genuine historical figure, it was one role that Samantha admitted that there was a lot of pressure to do the role justice.

’Josefa actually existed, which makes playing her all the more terrifying,’ said Sam.

’She was the real deal.’

’I feel very excited about playing Josefa, because she was an inspiration to Mozart, as much as he inspired her. There was this amazing equal, mutual friendship between the two of them.’

The film itself is a sumptuous recreation of late 18th Century European society, complete with beautiful costumes, extravagant headpieces and lavish sets.

As befits a star of her calibre at the time, Josefa seems to wear the most stunning designs.

The first face seen in the trailer shows Sam beautifully painted in white, bedecked in a white wig, corset and frills.

One of the main difficulties in taking on the role was adapting her singing voice to be able to sing the soprano parts of Mozart’s arias.

Singing, or course, is one of Samantha’s many talents, and her stunning voice, along with her acting talents, have taken her to the top of the acting world.

However, she said it was a real challenge to effectively retrain her voice from one that can tackle songs from the musicals to one that could fill the concert halls of renaissance Prague.

’Singing opera is something I’d never done before,’ she said.

’I’ve sung a lot, and I love singing, but opera is something I’d never explored.

’Tackling one of Mozart’s operas is so scary. There was a lot of lot of pressure.

’I spent every hour under the sun singing, singing, singing those arias. My neighbours must hate me.’

John said that the team behind the film were astonished by her abilities to sing opera, which she learned on set.

’She actually had to learn how to song opera during the time film was in development, which is really impressive.

Sam Barks is beautiful in the role,’ he said. ’She really brought the glamour to the film.’

John has already worked with Samantha previously, working together in the films ’A Christmas Candle’ and ’A Bitter Harvest’.

Interlude in Prague was released for cinemas on Thursday, May 25, following a red carpet premier in London.

There is to be a special one-off showing of the film at the Erin Arts Centre on Saturday, June 2, from 8pm.

Tickets are £10, available from the Erin Arts Centre Box Office.

by Mike Wade