Around the University TownCampus NewsCherie Gil brings Callas to Luce

Cherie Gil brings Callas to Luce

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The Philippine Opera Company brings its re- staging of the Tony Award- winning show Master Class to the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium in Sillliman University, Dumaguete City, after a successful Manila run. The play, starring Cherie Gil as the legendary opera diva Maria Callas, is set to have its Visayan premiere on 20 August 2010, and will have a repeat on August 21. {{more}}

Master Class, written by Terrence McNally and directed locally by Michael Williams of Miss Saigon fame, was first produced by the Philadelphia Theatre Company in March 1995. It opened at the Golden Theatre in New York City in November that same year. It is based on a series of master classes given by the renowned opera singer Maria Callas at the Juilliard School of Music in New York in 1971 and 1972.

Callas was the greatest dramatic soprano of her generation and also a controversial figure. Her restless and tempestuous personality often led her into disputes with opera managements and feuds with rival singers. However, she was adored by her fans and was the subject of constant media attention, including gossip about her jet-set life with the wealthy Greek ship owner Aristotle Onassis.

Although Master Class does delve into the triumphs and tragedies of Callas’ life, its primary focus is the art of dramatic singing. As McNally’s fictional version of Callas teaches her class, she explains to her students–two sopranos and a tenor–just what it takes to invest the music with real feeling, revealing as she does so how demanding the profession of opera singing is. She also reveals her own contradictory personality–proud and egotistical yet also vulnerable and self-pitying.

In spite of all the flaws of its main character, however, Master Class, written by a man who has been a Callas fan since he was a teenager in high school, is a tribute to the dedication of a great singer and actress to her chosen art.

The play features television, film, and stage actress Cherie Gil, in a very rare performance as the opera icon Maria Callas. Gil as Callas was cited twice as Best Actress in Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Best of Theater in 2008. The Philippine Star’s Rosalinda Orosa also wrote: “Master Class captured the fiery, explosive temperament and passion for perfection–traits which Cherie Gil magnificently conveyed.”

For inquiries, please call (035) 422-6002 loc. 520 or loc. 250, or 09173235953. (SUCAC)

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