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Abramovich’s Freud, Lightning Seeds, Sad Callas: London Weekend

Tyne Daly as Maria Callas in "Master Class." During the course of the master class, Callas recalls her life, her hardships and her relationships. Photographer: Johan Persson/Premier PR via Bloomberg

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Tyne Daly looks nothing like Maria Callas, despite her overuse of eyeliner. Yet she delivers a completely convincing portrait of the superstar who died heartbroken in Paris in 1977.

By then she had lost her voice and also Ari Onassis, the unpleasant, rich tycoon who dumped her for Jackie Kennedy.

Terrence McNally’s 1995 “Master Class” is based on the diva’s famous workshops at New York’s Juilliard School in 1970-71. As she coaches a trio of students, she often flashes back to wartime Athens and her mean mom, and snipes at the competition.

At the Vaudeville Theatre, Strand, WC2. Information: or +44-844-811-0059.

The Opera Tavern is an appropriate choice for dinner or drinks. This tapas venue near the Vaudeville Theatre is popular, so expect a crowd. Information: or +44-20-7836-3680.


Leonard Bernstein’s crusade for musical education outlives him. His daughter Jamie is at the Barbican Saturday co-hosting a “Young People’s Concert” with the visiting New York Philharmonic. The tribute to New York will include music from Bernstein’s “West Side Story” and “On the Town.”

In a free foyer event beforehand, you can drop by to meet New York Philharmonic players and compose your own Big-Apple-inspired piece.

The Barbican is at Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Information: or +44-20-7638-8891.

Saturday Night

The sounds of the soccer-stadium anthem “Three Lions” will fill Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

The song, regularly reissued for the World Cup, has lyrics by comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner with music by Ian Broudie, leader of the Lightning Seeds. His Liverpudlian band has two decades of Broudie-penned pop to choose from, including hits such as “Pure,” “Sugar Coated Iceberg” and “Perfect.” Long-term fans will be singing along to every word.

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT. Information:, or +44-844-477-2000.


Lucian Freud enjoyed painting very large people in the nude.

The towering entertainer Leigh Bowery and the snoozing civil servant Sue Tilley stand out in Freud’s posthumous show at the National Portrait Gallery. Tilley’s picture (“Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” 1995) sold for a record $33.6 million in a 2008 auction; the buyer was Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, dealers said. Freud has a field day with the folds in her flesh, which echo the curve of the sofa.

Don’t miss his exquisite pencil drawing of Francis Bacon (with trousers undone), or his last work, “Portrait of the Hound” (2011). The latter was unfinished at the time of Freud’s death and the whippet lying next to the naked male sitter has no hind legs.

“Lucian Freud Portraits” is at the National Portrait Gallery: or call +44-20-7306-0055.

Nopi, a 10-minute walk from the National Portrait Gallery, is an all-day brasserie serving small dishes to share from the Middle East and Asia. Chef Yotam Ottolenghi is known for his light touch. There’s a good range of fish and vegetarian options, and plenty for carnivores, too. Information: or +44-20-7494-9584.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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