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Operavore Special: Gershwin's Porgy and Bess

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It's been an interesting ride for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess which opens Thursday night at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway.

Stephen Sondheim grumbled about this revised version of the groundbreaking 1935 American folk opera by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward when it played Boston last year. But the sharp criticisms didn't kill a Broadway run, especially after some of the production's controversial changes (including an added "happy ending") were toned down.

If you didn't score tickets for opening night, tune in Thursday at 8 pm to our Operavore Web stream to hear Lorin Maazel's trailblazing 1976 recording of the opera. Recently remastered and available on CD on the Decca label, it uses the original, uncut score and original orchestration.

Critics have praised this recording featuring the Cleveland Orchestra since its premiere. Willard White's rich-voiced Porgy and Leona Mitchell's thoroughly operatic Bess are at the heart of the opera. The cast also includes McHenry Boatwright's frightening Crown, Francois Clemmons's agile Sporting Life, Florence Quivar's strong Serena and Barbara Hendricks' Clara.

To listen, click on "Operavore" and "Play" on the player at the top of WQXR.org.