A Problem Like Maria: Three Actresses in McNally’s Master Class (for Parterre Box)

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Zoe Caldwell as Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s Master Class.

Cameron Kelsall: Terrence McNally died on March 24, at age 81, of Coronavirus complications. He wrote more than 30 plays over a career that spanned nearly 60 years, winning five Tony Awards along the way.

But to opera denizens, he’s probably best known for Master Class, a fictionalized account of Maria Callas’s 1970s Juilliard master classes, which was a surprise hit on Broadway in the 1990s. The original production ran for 600 performances, earning the 1996 Tony for Best Play.

Many legendary actresses have played Callas since the play’s premiere, from Zoe Caldwell (the role’s originator) to Fanny Ardent (in a Paris production, directed by Roman Polanski) to Tyne Daly (in a 2011 Broadway revival that eventually traveled to London).

David Fox: A prolific and estimable career for sure — and one that’s of particular interest to opera lovers. I’ve also noted many comments both public and private about what an extraordinary friend and mentor he was to other artists. I should probably just stop there, rather than insert a likely unwelcome negative note.

Still (deep breath) I wish I liked the opera-based plays more…

Read the complete post at Parterre Box.

Categories: Criticism, Music, PARTERRE BOX

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