Monday, January 16, 2012

Gershwin - Porgy and Bess (1951)

Thu. Jan. 12, 2012

Gershwin: Porgy and Bess. This 1951 Columbia Masterworks 3-LP recording was made from the standard performing version of Porgy and Bess at that time, and it was the most complete recording made of the opera up to that time. Actually, there was still an hour of cuts made from Gershwin's original score. Conducted by Lehman Engel, and starring Lawrence Winters as Porgy and Camilla Williams as Bess. Several performers from the original 1935 cast are here: Warren Coleman, Helen Dowdy, Eddie Matthews, J. Rosamund Johnson, and Ray Yeats. On its release, this album was highly acclaimed as a giant step in recorded opera and has been available, off and on, ever since. Transferred and restored from the original Columbia mono LP set OSL-162. (Subsequent re-releases were re-channeled for stereo.)

This audio is part of the collection: Community Audio
Artist/Composer: Transfer and restoration by Bob Varney.

70 Years of Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess'
October 10, 2005 - On this day in 1935, Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin's opera about black life in the South Carolina town of Charleston at the turn of the century, made its Broadway debut.
Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, based on DuBose Hayward's successful novel of the same title, tells the story of poor, crippled Porgy and beautiful Bess, who runs away from the fast life to find sanctuary with Porgy and the residents of Catfish Row.
From the very beginning, it was considered another American classic by the composer of "Rhapsody in Blue" — even if critics couldn't quite figure out how to evaluate it. Was it opera, or was it simply an ambitious Broadway musical?
"It crossed the barriers," says theater historian Robert Kimball. "It wasn't a musical work per se, and it wasn't a drama per se — it elicited response from both music and drama critics. But the work has sort of always been outside category."
Borrowing minor chords from his Jewish heritage, call-and-response from black churches he'd visited and dashes of jazz, Gershwin's new music was completely original and very American. It was a commercial failure in its first run on Broadway — but despite that rocky start, Porgy and Bess went on to become one of the most-performed works in theater history.

Gershwin An American In Paris

Gershwin rhapsody in blue

Schedule of programs

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