Diva’s story not just for buffs

Christine Evans as Maria Callas in Master Class
Christine Evans as Maria Callas in Master Class

The extraordinary life of one of the world’s greatest singers is put under the microscope in the next production at Rugby Theatre.

Multi-award winning play Master Class drops in on opera diva Maria Callas as she tries to pass on her years of knowledge to three students.

Director Margaret Dulcamara said: “Don’t worry if opera isn’t your thing –it isn’t really mine either!

“But that hasn’t stopped me loving this fabulous play. It’s absolutely wonderful – funny, moving and clever, and not at all highbrow.”

During the course of the action, Terry McNally’s play digs deep into Callas’s life – including learning of her years as the mistress of millionaire Aristotle Onassis. He ditched her before marrying President John F Kennedy’s widow, Jackie.

Christine Evans takes on the role of the tempestuous singer. She said: “I’ve absolutely adored learning about Maria Callas, and getting under her skin to play this part. She’s an absolutely fascinating character.

“She does not suffer fools gladly and her manner at times leaves much to be desired – but you come to learn why she acts the way she does, and the lessons she is teaching her students.”

The shows stars talented newcomer Rita Santos, from Portugal, and Josephina Achaval, from Argentina.

Theatre stalwart Tim Sell will join them, along with Mervyn Bethell. Also making his debut is Greg Higgison, who plays a stagehand.

Christine added: “It really will be a great show, whether you are looking for an evening with things to make you smile, want to suffer along with the students, or just sit back and be entertained.”

The play opens on Saturday, November 7, for a six-night run.

In a break from normal Rugby Theatre tradition, there will be shows on Saturday and Sunday, with a two-night break, with further performances from Wednesday to Saturday.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.rugbytheatre.co.uk