Virus death of US librettist

Virus death of US librettist


norman lebrecht

March 24, 2020

From San Francisco Opera:

A voice for humanity. A voice for compassion. Today, we lost an icon, a leader, a friend: Tony-winning playwright and librettist Terrence McNally. He passed away at age 81 from complications from the coronavirus.

McNally brought a critical eye to the greatest social issues of our time, immortalizing them in plays and music, as he did as librettist for our 2000 world premiere of “Dead Man Walking,” an opera about pain, forgiveness and morality set against a Louisiana death penalty case.

We will miss the way he compelled us to look inward, to confront the unknown and to laugh down our demons. Here he is, second from left, pictured with the creative team of “Dead Man Walking:” composer Jake Heggie, conductor Patrick Summers and production designer Joe Mantello. We send our deepest condolences to his loved ones.


  • Joel says:

    “US Librettist”? Much more than that! He was a very well known, awarded and respected playwright, I think that in this blog many readers may know specially his two plays related to Maria Callas, “The Lisbon Traviata” and specially “Master Class”, where the main character is the legendary soprano, during her famous master classes at the Juilliard.

  • Bell says:

    Norman, please google who Terrance McNally was. He was not just a librettist of a relatively successful opera, he was one of the most important, influential, and finest American playwrights of the second half of the 20th century. He wrote “Master Class” about Maria Callas, “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” the books of “Kiss of the Spiderwoman” and “Ragtime,” and much else. His loss is a serious blow to the entire US theatre community. You can learn more about him here:

  • RW2013 says:

    ”I give you my big thick uncircumcised Greek dick, and you give me class”
    Only one of the many unforgettable moments for which we thank you.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    In addition to his theatrical writing, I also fondly recall McNally as one of the most ingratiating guests on the intermission features of the Met Saturday radio broadcasts.