PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 November 2010
FAMOUS actress Stephanie Beacham stars as the celebrated diva Maria Callas in a new production of Master Class at the Theatre Royal Bath.
Beautiful and talented but tormented, Maria Callas took the world by storm and remains one of the towering figures of the opera world.
Larger-than-life and gorgeously glamorous, the general public were mesmerised as much by her thrilling private life as by her extraordinary musical and dramatic talents. Her passionate love affair with the tycoon, Aristotle Onassis, gripped the press and public alike and took on an added drama when he left her, heart-broken, for Jackie Kennedy, returning soon after their wedding asking for Maria’s forgiveness.
She never fully recovered and died in 1977 at the age of 53.
Inspired by the master classes Callas gave in New York in the early seventies, Terrence McNally’s Master Class invites audiences to observe the great diva in action as she puts three aspiring singers through their paces. Witty, bitchy, grandiose, demanding and insecure, at a time when her voice and her personal life have fallen apart, she reminisces on the triumphs and tragedies of her life and career.
Stephanie Beacham is one of the most respected actors of her generation and bears an extraordinary likeness to Callas.
When meeting Callas’s close friend, legendary film director Franco Zefferelli for the first time, he said, ‘My God, you are Maria Callas’.
The cast is completed by David Harvey as Manny, Robyn North as Sophie de Palma, Scott Hazell as Stagehand, Pamela Hay as Sharon Graham and Christopher Jacobsen as Tony Candelino.
This new production is directed by Jonathan Church, the acclaimed Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre
Master Class runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday.
Tickets, priced £16.50-32.50, are available from the box office on 01225 448844 or at www.theatreroyal.org.uk