« Contrasting reflections on Easter from Rachmaninoff | Main | Gilmore Young Artist Award-winner Ivan Moshchuk gives dynamic Baltimore recital »

April 5, 2010

McNally fest at Kennedy Center finds Tyne Daly triumphant in 'Master Class'

In case you missed Sunday's paper (I hope you were out having fun on such a fab day), I thought I should mention my review of "Master Class," the third production in the Kennedy Center's festival of Terrence McNally opera-theme plays, featuring a brilliant performance by Tyne Daly as Maria Callas.

I know that this play is not historically accurate in a whole mess of ways -- Callas gave a few famous master classes, all right, but not for unprepared singers; she treated students with kindness, not bitchiness; she probably never said, and maybe never even thought, a lot of the lines that McNally gives her in this play; some details presented here about the Callas/Aristotle Onassis relationship are open to debate. But I still think there is something that rings true about almost all of "Master Class."

In this new production, Callas seems to be right there, in all her formidable divahood and with her inner self visible as well. Daly doesn't resemble the famed soprano physically, yet captures the woman's essence, sometimes in startling ways. It's a terrific portrayal in an awfully entertaining and meaningful play. 


Posted by Tim Smith at 12:11 PM | | Comments (1)


The Tenor in the production, Ta'u Pupu'a, used to play football for the Baltimore Ravens.....Not bad, eh?

Thanks for adding that. I actually had a line about his Ravens connection in the review, but the editors (how I love them) cut it for space. TIM

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected