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Master Class at the Santa Ana

by Phoebe Greyson

“There are times when certain people are blessed—and cursed—with an extraordinary gift, in which the gift is almost greater than the human being. Callas was one of these people. It was as if her own wishes, her life, her own happiness were all subservient to this incredible, incredible gift that she was given, this gift that reached out and taught us things about music that we knew very well, but showed us new things, things we never thought about, new possibilities.”   John Ardoin, music critic, speaking of Maria Callas

Master Class  by Terrence McNally
Mar 27, 28, 29, and 30 at 8pm, Mar 31 at 4pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50-A
Mar 27 (Opening night) 100 pesos, all other nights and matinee 150 pesos

Between October of 1971 and March of 1972, five years before her death at the age of 53 and at the end of one of the most astonishing singing careers in the history of opera, Maria Callas taught a master class at the Juilliard School of Music. Master Class, written by Terrence McNally in 1995, takes us into the classroom with Callas as she attempts to teach the eager young divas of the future that “getting the notes out” is only the most basic of prerequisites for a career in opera and that the real work demands self knowledge and emotional transparency beyond anything they have ever contemplated or desired.  The resulting conflict, as Callas relentlessly pushes her students to and beyond the limits of self control and self image, serves as dramatic counterpoint to dream sequences in which Callas relives a life filled with deprivation, sacrifice and betrayal.

The play is filled with epiphanous insights into the relationship between craft and art and the sacrifices demanded by each.  As Callas tells one aspiring and accomplished soprano, “You have to listen to something in yourself to sing this difficult music … It takes more than a pretty voice to build a career.”

Maria Callas is played by Phoebe Greyson. The first and second sopranos are played respectively by Susan Rushton and Clara Dunham. David Van-Sickle plays the role of Manny, the accompanist. Lois Reed directs.

The play opens on March 27 and runs through the 31st at the Santa Ana Theater with four evening performances beginning at 8pm and one afternoon performance on March 31 at 4pm.  Admission is 150 pesos except for opening night, when admission is 100 pesos.


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