La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas

Solo Show · shelley cooper · Ages 13+ · United States of America

one person show
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August 20, 2021 certified reviewer

What I liked

Ms. Cooper’s admirable dedication to creating and mounting a unique recreation of one woman’s personal and professional history. Without her trained voice it wouldn’t fly—-but with it, it SOARS! Every Fringe has had a Star Turn I’ve seen more than once—-Anthony Newley (Jon Peterson), Ina Ray Hutton, et al—-but this tops them all! It merits a much longer run than it has had here.

What I didn't like

Pace could be improved by NOT allowing so much space for unheard questions from the moderator.
I was surprised it was never mentioned that Callas was actually American-born and returned to Greece as a child!

My overall impression

Shelley Cooper’s sublime soprano soars to fill this cozy venue at least a dozen times (and could certainly fill much larger ones) as she recreates a late-in-life interview with the PRIMA-donna Maria Callas. She doesn’t look like MC, but with a basic black dress and two strands of pearls—-and That Voice!—-she compels belief for 45 minutes (if she edited the pauses for unheard moderator questions it would be 40 or less). Even opera-phobes (like me) will be stunned and (like me) learn a lot of MC’s previously-hidden early history. Thanks, Shelley, for a wonderful, too-brief theatrical evening!

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