Tuesday, March 6, 2012

'Master Class' with a pre-theatre meal

A play with a little bit of opera... over from Broadway. 

Master Class at Vaudeville Theatre, London (limited run until 28th April 2012)
Performance: Tuesday 28th February 2012 at 19:30
Seat: 3rd row Dress Circle
Cast: Tyne Daly (Maria Callas), Jeremy Cohen (Emmanuel Weinstock), Dianne Pilkington (Sophie de Palma), Garrett Sorenson (Anthony Candolino), Naomi O'Connell (Sharon Graham), Gerard Carey (Stagehand)

Lastminute.com was offering a meal&theatre package at a very reasonable price and since I was intending to see Master Class anyway, I decided to try it out. The meal was at Porter's English Restaurant which was only a short walk away from the theatre. Frankly, I am not one to critique food because I don't really mind what I stick into my mouth but I think the food was decent and, most importantly, the meal was a perfect size (i.e. not massive). We got to select our meal from a set menu which had about six different choices on it. A special mention goes to the lovely waiting staff.

Our seats were supposed to be in the Upper Circle but when we got to the theatre we were told we had been bumped up to the Dress Circle because there were a whole lot of empty seats. The view from there was perfect actually. I can't imagine the view from the stalls being significantly better.

About: Sophie de Palma, Anthony Candolino and Sharon Graham all come in individually for a master class with Maria Callas. Callas conducts her classes in a stern, individual way which causes a number of comic moments and we learn a lot about her personality and her life.

Tyne Daly was amazing, as anticipated. She had an unbelievable stage presence and played Maria Callas stunningly. She seemed so much taller on stage compared to what she actually was when seeing her at the stage door afterwards. She delivered extremely well throughout. She was incredible - not much more I can say about that. 

Tyne Daly and Naomi O'Connell (photo: Johan Persson)
I was very excited about seeing Dianne because I really love her voice and I have been to see her perform in a cabaret but I have never seen her in a part at the theatre. Sophie de Palma was such a great part for Dianne. I started giggling when I realised it was another part which involved crying. It reminded me of an interview in which she said that she tends to get a lot of crying girl parts :P 
It was great to hear Dianne, Garrett and Naomi actually sing opera with Jeremy accompanying them on the piano as Emmanuel the accompanist (whose name Callas has trouble remembering). The two latter are actually opera singers and Dianne has got a great operatic soprano range as well so quality stuff there. I used to be a big fan of opera at one point and before I began singing musical theatre, I did some classical stuff. Seeing Master Class really inspired me to go and have a look for some classical music to sing for a change :)

The only thing that put me off a little was the fact that I did not know much about Maria Callas from before and although there obviously was a short biography in the programme, I have a feeling the show would have had a greater effect on me had I known a bit more of the background prior to seeing it. 

Finally, a special mention to Gerard Carey as well for being an absolutely hilarious stagehand!

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