Maria Callas and the pianist Eugene Kohn at a session of her legendary master classes at the Juilliard School in New York in March 1972.
Maria Callas and the pianist Eugene Kohn at a session of her legendary master classes at the Juilliard School in New York in March 1972.

Terrence McNally’s play, Master Class, is about to get the HBO treatment and come to the small screen. The stage play, made famous by Zoe Caldwell as Maria Callas, eventually went on to star Patti LuPone, Dixie Carter, and most recently, Tyne Daly in the 2011 Broadway revival. Now, it’s Meryl Streep’s turn to step into the famed opera diva’s shoes. Maria Callas was an American-born, Greek soprano, who was known for her wide vocal range and dramatic flair. She graced the world’s most famous opera houses, and eventually went on to teach a series of master classes at The Juilliard School from 1971-1972. Those master classes served as the basis for McNally’s vibrant and lively play. What I find interesting is that Meryl teams up Mike Nichols again whom she has worked with on numerous occasions. It’s going to be fun to see what the two can bring to this character and the piece as a whole. Callas was a colorful personality, so I’m sure Meryl will have no problem. She’s a legend in her own right. She also has a talent for playing real-life characters. We can tell from her Oscar-winning performance in The Iron Lady.

Actresses who play Maria Callas have a lot of source material to fall back on, and what’s better than the actual master classes at Juilliard. Below is the audio from one of her many classes. She is working with student, tenor Mario Fusco on an aria from the opera, Tosca by Puccini. Enjoy the sounds of the real Maria Callas. I can’t wait to see Meryl as Maria.

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