The Kennedy Center

Terrence McNally's <i>Nights at the Opera: The Lisbon Traviata</i>

Terrence McNally's Nights at the Opera: The Lisbon Traviata

Saturday, March 20, 2010 - Sunday, April 11, 2010


Deriving its title from an unauthorized recording of a Maria Callas performance in Lisbon which became a collector's item, The Lisbon Traviata reflects on romantic obsession and diva worship. Part of Terrence McNally's Nights at the Opera.

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Terrence McNally's Nights at the Opera
The Lisbon Traviata
By Terrence McNally
Directed by Christopher Ashley

From comedies and dramas to musical theater and movies, Terrence McNally has secured his place among the great modern playwrights. McNally has earned four Tony Awards (Ragtime, Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Kiss of the Spider Woman) and written theater hits from Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune to The Full Monty. For the 2009–2010 Theater season, the Kennedy Center presents The Lisbon Traviata, Master Class, and Golden Age, a special collection of three McNally plays on one of his favorite subjects--the opera.
The Lisbon Traviata places the two faces of classic theater, comedy and tragedy, in stark relief. Stephen, portrayed by Tony Award nominee Malcolm Gets (Amour), especially adores Maria Callas and dishing the latest gossip with his best friend, the wildly flamboyant and catty opera queen Mendy, who is played by Tony winner John Glover (Love! Valour! Compassion! ). They talk late into the night in an attempt to distract Stephen from his unraveling relationship with his partner. When Stephen returns home to confront his lover, a tragedy erupts on the scale of a grand opera. The New York Times proclaims, with "humor malevolent to the point of bitchiness… dissolving into an aria of violence…Lisbon Traviata is a defiant attempt to confront demons."

The Lisbon Traviata features set design by Derek McLane, costume design by David Woolard, lighting design by Philip Rosenberg, and sound design by Jon Gromada.

Please Note: This production contains strong language and brief nudity.

Performance Timing:  Act I - 62 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act II - 58 min.

Watch and Listen

In Conversation: Terrence McNally

Masters of McNally

Watch playwright Terrence McNally discuss “The Lisbon Traviata”