Last night, Caitie and I went to see a production of Master Class at the Kelsey. I had never seen the show before (in fact knew little about it beyond that it was about Maria Callas teaching a, well, master class), but knew I liked the playwright, Terrence Mcnally.
Both of us were surprised by how much we enjoyed the show. The lead actress, Laurie Hardy, who played Callas was absolutely incredible. If nothing else, the sheer amount of lines the actress needs to learn, both in English and Italian, is astounding. More than that, though, Hardy truly embodied the great opera singer - every motion and every line was in character and very specific. It tied in well to her declaration that art is about the specifics - the wigs, the costumes, the stage dust. This line reminded both of us of Sunday in the Park with George, which the show's theme had more than a little in common with. The idea of dedication to one's art, completely, is similar in both shows. The destructive force of these creative types resonates through both shows in fairly similar ways.
The three students who sang during the show had fantastic voices. I've never been a huge opera fan, though I have been known to enjoy a few productions here and there. Generally, I do love the music, but not understanding the language is a turn off for me (and English operas tend to not be very good). Still, with "Callas" guiding us and the students, I was able to enjoy the feelings from the singers and appreciate the difficulty of what they do.
The show was definitely another success for the Kelsey. Despite a couple of duds earlier this year, most of the productions in the subscription so far have made it well worth the cost of the program. Here's hoping the coming musicals are as good!