Gershwin Opera on PBS

(Above: Eric Owens and Angel Blue. Source: YouTube video)

A Metropolitan Opera staging of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess will premiere this Friday, July 17, at 9 pm ET on PBS stations (check local listings for exact day/time in your area). 

Part of the Great Performances at the Met series, this 2019 James Robinson production, hosted by noted Broadway performer Audra McDonald, stars Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles. The ensemble also includes Alfred Walker as Crown, Frederick Ballentine as Sportin’ Life, Latonia Moore as Serena, Golda Schultz as Clara and Donovan Singletary as Jake. 

Porgy and Bess on PBS
(Above source: YouTube video)

David Robertson conducts and Tony-nominated Camille A. Brown handles the choreography.

Gershwin’s 1935 opera, about the residents of a South Carolina neighborhood called Catfish Row, has a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and by Gershwin’s lyricist brother Ira. It was adapted from the play Porgy, co-written by Heyward with wife Dorothy, which was in turn based on Heyward’s 1925 novel.

Porgy and Bess has been criticized over the years for its use of African American stereotypes. In this updated version, Catfish Row is now depicted as a striving, working-class community, not an abandoned slum.

You can stream other episodes of Great Performances on the PBS website.

For more information, visit PBS.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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