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"Master Class"

  • Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (map)
Photo Courtesy of Meredith Wilcke



Nov 13th at 8pm, Nov 14th at 8pm, Nov 15th at 2pm


Terrence McNally's Master Class opened on Broadway in 1995 and went on to win 3 Tony Awards including Best Play.  It is a funny, biting, moving and surreal piece of theatre as opera diva Maria Callas gives a master class for two sopranos and a tenor at Juilliard.  They sing and she scolds: "Wear longer skirts...the public sees more of you than you might want." She disses: "Joan Sutherland did her best. A twelve-foot Lucia. Whoever heard of such a thing?" She humiliates: "Mockery is too strong a word. So is travesty. I want juice. I want passion. I want you."  And through it all she reveals her passion for music, her failed love affairs and the sacrifices the true artist must make.

Orlando welcomes Seva Anthony as the imperious Maria Callas with Janette Zilioli, Vanessa Rodriguez and Brandon Evans as her self-described "victims." They sing the music of Bellini, Verdi and Puccini as Callas relives some of her triumphs, failures and personal losses.

Master Class has conquered Broadway and the world. Now it will conquer you.



Maria Callas -  Seva Anthony

Emmanuel Weinstock -  Austin McElwain

Sharon Graham -  Janette Zilioli

Anthony Candolino -  Brandon Evans

Sophie De Palma -  Vanessa Rodriguez

Stagehand -  Larry Stallings



Stage Director -  Ian Campbell

Lighting Desinger -  Jon Whitely

Costume Designer -  Suzanna Sacks

Make-Up Designer - Nicole Dupre

Stage Manager -  Frances W. Falcone



November 13th at 8pm

November 14th at 8pm

November 15th at 2pm



All performances will be at the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theatre at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.  Click HERE to purchase tickets or call 844-513-2014.  Tickets range from $30 to $66.




Seva Anthony recently performed the role of Maria Callas in Master Class  this past summer at The Players Theatre in Sarasota. As a former dancer, Seva performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the Brooklyn Lyric Opera and Light Opera of Manhattan before leaving the city to pursue a career in Las Vegas and Japan as a solo circus aerialist. Four years ago, Seva performed with the St. Petersburg Opera in La Boheme, Samson and Delilah and Madama Butterfly and has been seen on stage as an actress at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and locally, with American Stage, The Historic Asolo and the Banyan Theatre. Currently she is artistic director of the Red Rose Parlour Theatre, a traveling troupe, devoted to an interactive experience focusing on empowerment and education through entertainment.

Austin McElwain is a native of South Florida where he was Music Director at Curtain Call Productions.  He also has been seen on stage as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music and Jason in Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days. He has served as Music Director for numerous shows including Hairspray, Annie, Next to Normal, and The Wild Party.  Austin holds a degree in Piano Performance from Hobe Sound Bible College and enjoys filling his extra time with lighting and technical work in the theatre.  He is excited to be joining Florida Opera Theatre for his first stage role since moving to the Orlando area.


American soprano Janette Zilioli is rapidly establishing herself as an exceptional artist with a dynamic, engaging stage presence and an exciting shimmer and brilliance to her voice.

In the 2011/12 season, Ms. Zilioli performed as Musetta in La Bohème, Puccini E Verdi – 2011-12 Season Opening Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and Symphony in HD in April – a collaboration between Full Sail Live& Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra where she performed the Queen of the Night’s Vengeance Aria within a virtual opera set.

In the 2010/11 season, she performed as a principal soloist in The Opera Show at the Kilworth House Theater in Leicestershire, England. She also appeared as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Bach Festival Society in Winter Park, Florida. Janette made her role debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Ash Lawn Opera Festival, sang Micaëla in Carmen with Mad Cow Theatre in Florida and toured Europe with The Opera Show to Barcelona, Lisbon and Milan in 2010. She also returned to Iceland performing in a recital tour concert series. In 2009, she performed at Opera Santa Barbara as Hanna Glowari in The Merry Widow and at Orlando Opera she sang Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. Ms. Zilioli also recently sang the roles of Musetta in La Bohème with Palm Beach Opera, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Central Florida Lyric Opera.

As a resident young artist at Orlando Opera, Ms. Zilioli performed numerous roles including Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, the High Priestess in Aida, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She sang as Countess Ceprano while covering Gilda in Rigoletto, has covered the role of Nedda in I Pagliacci and was the soprano soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Ms. Zilioli’s repertoire includes Eva Peron in Evita, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Magda in La Rondine. She has also been an apprentice with Chautauqua Opera, the San Francisco Opera Arts Training Program, and with Central Florida Lyric Opera.

Ms. Zilioli was a 2001 national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The same year, she was the 1st place winner and the Audience Choice winner at the Houston Grand Opera's McCollum Competition. After winning the 1st-prize at the Australian Singing Competition, she was invited to sing in the winner’s concert in Tokyo, Japan. She has been the recipient of two notable fellowships in 2004 and 2008 to the Music Academy of the West entitling her to study with Marilyn Horne and Warren Jones.

Janette Zilioli was a guest artist at the Rosa Ponselle Competition Winners' Concert making her debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of 17. Thereafter, she sang recitals and tours internationally in Iceland, Italy, Australia and Japan. She has appeared frequently as a principal soloist with the Orlando Philharmonic in performances of Sunset & Symphony, Richard Rodgers Spectacular, Young People's Concerts and Mahler 2.

Soprano Eileen Vanessa Rodriguez obtained a Bachelors of Science in Music Education at the University of South Florida, where she studied voice under the guidance of Dr. Warren Jaworski. At the university she performed Despina in Cosi fan tutte and Gretel in Hansel & Gretel. In the summer of 2011, she performed the role of Frasquita in Carmen under the direction of renowned director Tito Capobianco in Opera Tampa’s Voice Experience program and in 2012 she was selected as an Opera Tampa singer- performing in outreach events, galas and concerts in the Tampa Bay area. March 2014, she covered the role of Frasquita in Opera Tampa’s production of Carmen under the baton of noted Maestro Daniel Lipton. Concerning oratorio repertoire, Ms. Rodriguez has performed as soprano soloist for Handel's Messiah, Bach Magnificat and Poulenc's Gloria locally. Ms. Rodriguez was voted "Saint Petersburg Opera Idol” in May of 2012 and has also been a part of several St. Petersburg Opera productions. More notably, she covered Barbarina in the Marriage of Figaro, was a featured soloist in Seasonal Sparkle 2012 and performed the role of Echo in their 2013 summer production of Ariadne auf Naxos. Later that summer, she performed the lead role - Angelina in Trial by Jury and covered the role of Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Hubbard Hall Opera. In the fall of 2014, she sang the role of Belinda in Dido and Aeneas with South Florida Lyric Opera. In March 2015, she performed the role of Despina in Cosi fan Tutte with Florida Opera Theater and in July, the role of Maria in Four guys named Jose and Una Mujer Named Maria with the Spanish Lyric Theater in Historic Ybor in Tampa. In October 2015, Ms. Rodriguez will perform the role of Elsie Maynard in Yeoman of the Guard with Winter Opera St. Louis and she is delighted to be returning to Florida Opera Theater in November in Terrence McNally’s Master Class.

Brandon Evans, a full lyric tenor, is pleased to join Florida Opera Theatre in their production of Masterclass by Terrence McNally.  Mr. Evans has appeared with the South Florida Lyric Opera, Ars Nova, the Janiec Opera Company, St. Petersburg Opera, Emerald City Opera, the Artist Series of Sarasota, Sarasota Opera and Opera North.  His repertory includes Don José(Carmen/ La tragedie de Carmen), Canio(Pagliacci), Njegus (The Merry Widow), and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and the tenor soloist for Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem, as well as Schubert's song Cycle Winterreiese. He resides in Sarasota and studies with Stella Zambalis.



Theater has been part of Larry's life for nearly forty years, participating as an actor, playwright or director for Orlando Theatre Project, Theatre Downtown, Plantation Dinner Theatre, Breakthrough Theatre, the Jewish Community Center, MurderWatch Mystery Theatre, Greater Orlando Actors Theatre, Improv Comedy Club, Theatre Winter Haven, and many others. He founded the Lakeland (Florida) Players and was the Producing Director there for two years before moving to Orlando. In New York, Larry contributed his talents to the Museum Village Theatre, Boathouse Playhouse and Colloquial Theatre. His favorite roles include Baptista in "Taming of the Shrew," Zangara in "Assassins," Pickering in "My Fair Lady," Barney in "Last of the Red Hot Lovers," Father Farley in "Mass Appeal," Cornelius in "Hello Dolly," Senex in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and the Old Actor in "The Fantasticks." Also a playwright, 36 productions of 30 of Larry's scripts have been seen around the country in Minnesota, New Jersey, Maryland and four cities in New York, including NYC.  In Florida, his plays have been seen in Tampa, Largo, Eustis, Lake Buena Vista, Sanford and Orlando. As a director, Larry has helmed 40 productions, including "You Can't Take it with You," "Broadway Bound," "The Mousetrap" and "Annie Get Your Gun."

Australia-born Ian Campbell commenced his professional opera career in 1967 as a tenor with Opera Australia.  He sang a variety of comprimario roles with the Company through the opening season in the Sydney Opera House appearing in Der Rosenkavalier Tannhäuser, Otello, The Rake’s Progress, The Magic Flute, A Masked Ball, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and many other operas.  He has been General Manager of The State Opera of South Australia, Assistant Artistic Administrator with the Metropolitan Opera, and General Director and Artistic Director of San Diego Opera. As a stage director his many past productions include Murder in the Cathedral, Don Quixote, Katya Kabanova, Tosca, Il trovatore and Falstaff for San Diego Opera, The Tales of Hoffmann and La bohème in South Australia and Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for Opera Santa Barbara.  He has given master classes around the USA and Australia including at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, San Diego State University, Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Denver working with singers on staging, audition presentation and aria interpretation.  He has judged many vocal competitions including the Marcello Giordani International Vocal Competition, and chaired the Metropolitan Opera Auditions at the Sydney Opera House.


Later Event: February 14
Valentine's Concert