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STAGIONE LIRICA 2011-2012 Teatro di San Carlo THE GERSHWINS’ ® PORGY AND BESS℠ - direttore William Barkhymer

Porgy and Bess being performed in Naples, Italy by the Harlem (NYC) Theater Group, 2011.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @ Blogfinger.net

The story of Porgy and Bess, a “folk- opera” by George and Ira Gershwin,  is set in an African-American  neighborhood in Charleston called Catfish Row.  Du Bose Heyward wrote the book in 1925 and he collaborated with Ira Gershwin on the libretto in 1935.

George Gershwin said, “Porgy and Bess is a folk tale. Its people naturally would sing folk music. When I first began work in the music I decided against the use of original folk material because I wanted the music to be all of one piece. Therefore I wrote my own spirituals and folk songs. But they are still folk music – and therefore, being in operatic form, Porgy and Bess becomes a folk opera.”

Porgy is the hero of the libretto which was written in the 1930’s. The first recording in 1951 was the operatic version, but the second recording was a jazz version by Duke Ellington in 1956.  Miles Davis recorded it in 1958 (see below)*


MILES DAVIS.  “I Loves You, Porgy”*



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