Callas-McNally-Daly “Master Class” Returns To Broadway

Maria Callas (1923-1977)(Photo: EMI)
Maria Callas (1923-1977)(Photo: EMI)

Terence McNally’s 1995 play “Master Class” is back on Broadway starring Tyne Daly as Maria Callas. The play is a re construction of the classes Callas gave at the Juilliard School in New York in 1971 and 1972. These were the diva’s first extended public appearances since her companion Aristotle Onassis abandoned her to marry Jacqueline Kennedy. Callas was trying to re establish her career and to try out her own voice in public.

Tyne Daly is an intense talent and must be a very strong lady. She’s packing the crowds in New York. The run has already been extended.

McNally’s play is good theater and controversial among opera lovers.

I attended two of these classes as a thirteen year old skipping school.  I remember Maria Callas as demanding, focused and caring that her students do well. McNally gives Maria more of a bite and more rage than she actually showed.

For many, the highlight of these classes was Callas’ singing of the baritone aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto. She kept her rage for the music:

Tyne Daly takes her place as Callas along with Zoe Caldwell, who created this play; Dixie Carter-who was thought to be ideal; Faye Dunaway, who was not and Patti Lupone. Good for Tyne and even better for Maria!

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