|Anna Francolini in rehearsal as Maria Callas in Onassis|
The beautiful and talented Anna Francolini is playing Maria Callas in the West End production of Onassis, alongside Robert Lindsey, at the Novello Theatre. Veronica Schmidt, from the Times said that she gave an "epic performance". Lindsey is playing the Greek self made millionaire, who had a voracious appetite for sex, money and power. Onassis married Jackie Kennedy and was Maria Callas's lover for many years, reputedly destroying her career and her life. Onassis is written by Martin Sherman (author of Bent) and is based on the book Nemesis by Peter Evans. The play was originally called Aristo and began life at the Chichester Festival in 2008 and then did a sell out pre-West End run at Derby Playhouse in September. It is directed by Nancy Meckler.
"The twentieth century was full of larger than life supermen and superwomen, from the monsters like Hitler to the saints like Mother Teresa. The Greek super-rich have occupied a particular place in this pantheon, and in his time Aristotle Onassis was the richest and most prominent of all, at least in the eyes of the general public. Just as the Russian proverb says that Moscow is “a city without limits’, so the Onassis life seemed to be ‘without limits, in terms of money, sex, power and infinite freedom. Onassis seemed to be able to go where he liked, make money beyond the dreams of avarice, sleep with the most beautiful women and influence world events. These threads all converged in his passion for Jacqueline Kennedy."
- James Pettifer
Anna played Jane Burden, William Morris's wife and Rossetti's lover, in our production of Possessed. I have enormous respect for her. Anna is a fine actress, with great sensitivity and a glorious soaring singing voice, although I have a feeling we may not hear her sing in this play, because Maria was having problems with her voice during the time she had her affair with Onassis.
I am going to see the play on 22nd October.