Music: Putting In the Poetry

The props are simple: desk, music stand, stool, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses used occasionally as a baton. The cast is small: one piano accompanist, plus any of 25 young, nervous operatic hopefuls selected from a field of 300 applicants. The star and plot line are fantastic: Maria Callas, in a generous sampling of the secrets that made her one of the great singer-actresses of the 20th century.

This is the scene in La Callas' twice-weekly master classes at Manhattan's Juilliard School, the second series of which opened last week. As musical shows go,...

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