Who hasn’t heard of Maria Callas? Certainly one of the best known and most fascinating opera singers of the 20th century, she never ceases to dazzle and amaze listeners with her unique voice and astonishing acting skills, but also with her unfailing commitment to her art. But this time, “La Divina” will not perform on stage Tosca, Lucia, and other characters by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Puccini who secured her place in the history books. In this play by Terrence McNally (Master Class in its original English version) translated in French by renowned playwright Michel Tremblay, at once documentary and fiction, it is the young aspiring singers who have come to take lessons with her whom she addresses, and to whom she lavishes advice and humorous anecdotes.
New York, early 1970s. At the renowned Juilliard Music School, Maria Callas holds master classes for young artists dreaming of an opera career, intimidated by the prospect of performing the arias that have made the celebrated soprano a legend on the world’s most renowned stages. At once strict and benevolent, the famous diva recounts her childhood, the rivalry with other singers, the merciless critics covering her first performances, her ultimate triumph at La Scala in Milan, her boundless and tragic love for the wealthy Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis and her career crumbling like her voice with only a few years left to live. The artist, facing her destiny, reveals herself in a profoundly personal way and without artifice. The play culminates with a monologue on sacrifice in the name of art, reminiscent of Tosca’s famous “Vissi d’arte”. Comedian Sophie Faucher embodies this mythical and larger-than-life character with all the intelligence, passion and charisma she is known for.
This Tony Award-winning play, with its at times caustic humour interspersed with deeply touching episodes, has run for nearly 600 performances on Broadway.
Sophie de Palma
Staging: Jacques Leblanc
Costumes and accessories: Véronique Borboën
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