Natalie Liccardello as Callas’s first student – the sweet, bubbly Sophie – displays the young woman’s innocent excitement and intimidation with aching believability.
Cynthia Hyer handles the demanding role as histrionic diva commendably. She personifies the soprano with a hard-as-nails, confident, no-nonsense exterior but retains a damaged, sensitive interior.
The Pitch Kansas City:
McNally’s play uncovers Callas at a sad point in her life, her too-short career behind her and a much-publicized love affair with Aristotle Onassis in ruins. Yet these depressing facts are eclipsed by this play’s intelligence and wit — and depth of feeling. All of this is brought to music-studio life at Spinning Tree, where we get a peek inside the soul of an artist.
Actress and writer Natalie Liccardello, playing Sophie, reveals yet another talent: singing.
The ambitious Tony (is) given a very funny and skillfully sung portrayal by Vigthor Zophoniasson.
In Spinning Tree’s staging, Paul Tilson’s lighting design sets off the star’s soliloquies. As she mentally leaves the room, changes in hue show different parts of her past, underscoring reveries that reveal as much about this woman as do her interactions with the students.
The Kansas City Star:
Master Class captures a demanding diva and the demands of art.
There’s quite a bit of inherent humor in her dealings with the aspiring opera stars, and Hyer captures all of it.
Hyer takes the viewer on a journey. Her enunciation of Callas’ view of art as a discipline, a struggle and ultimately a winner-takes-all fight has the ring of truth. Hyer’s performance compelled me to consider the play in a different light.
(Vigthor) Zophoniasson demonstrates a gift for comedy (and) possesses an exceptional voice.
5-Stars! Master Class opens to a full house.
Sylvia Stoner, as Sharon, has a fabulously strong voice and gave a terrific performance as the student who was first afraid of Callas and then bold and out-spoken. Even if you’re not a fan of opera her voice makes you yearn for more.